The medical marijuana program in Missouri is still relatively new which means there are a lot of flaws to iron out. The state made tentative steps towards legalizing medical weed in 2014 when it decriminalized the substance in 2014. In the same year, Governor Jay Nixon signed the state’s Medical Marijuana Bill into law, but it only allowed patients with persistent seizures to use CBD oil.
In 2015, two non-profits received licenses to begin growing weed for medical cannabis oil. November 6, 2018, was a momentous day in Missouri’s history as it passed Amendment 2, which allowed medicinal marijuana in the state. All retail sales are subjected to a 4% tax, and the proceeds will be used to help take care of the medical needs of our brave veterans.
Although Amendment 2 has been in effect since December 6, 2018, there is a LONG way to go. It is hoped that there will be almost 200 dispensaries in the state by 2020, but at the time of writing, almost every question surrounding the medical marijuana program can be answered with ‘To Be Determined.’
In this article, we try to make sense of what is going on in Missouri and provide you with information on when you can begin applying for an MMJ card.
The Definitive Guide on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Missouri
While it is hoped that the program will be fully rolled out by mid-2019, it seems as if the state police haven’t got the memo. In early March 2019, local police searched the room of a Stage 4 cancer patient in Citizens Memorial Hospital. It was a case that provoked outrage as the man, Nolan Sousley, posted a video of the search live on Facebook.
As Sousley told an officer, medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, but the paperwork hasn’t finished. “But I don’t have time to wait for that. What would you do?” That’s the million-dollar question since patients in Missouri need to wait until July 4, 2019, to start their application for an MMJ card. In other words, the earliest you can get your hands on medical marijuana is August 5.
On January 5, 2019, the DHSS began to accept pre-filed application fees. Here’s the rest of the program’s estimated timeline for 2019:
- June 4: Application forms and instructions will be posted based on rules the DHSS has yet to finalize. There will be application forms available for four types of license: Patient, Cultivation, Infused-Products manufacturer, and dispensary.
- July 4: The DHSS begins accepting patient and patient caregiver license applications.
- August 3: The DHS begins accepting applications for the other license types. The aim is to award 82 licenses for infused-product manufacturers, 61 licenses for cultivation, and 192 licenses for dispensaries.
- December 31: This is the deadline for the approval of the August 3 licenses.
We wish we could provide you with more information, but everything is yet to be decided. One possible issue with the program is the lack of doctors getting involved. All of Missouri’s major physician groups opposed every single cannabis measure on the ballot. Perhaps doctors from other states will come to Missouri to benefit from a significant increase in business?
One Michigan doctor reported that his clinic performed at least 70,000 medical marijuana card exams in the 10 years since the herb was made legal. At around $150-$200 apiece, it is a lucrative industry.
When the program finally gets moving, we expect the process to look something like this:
- Visit a state-licensed physician to receive a certification.
- Register with the state’s medical marijuana program.
- Send your application form with the doctor’s recommendation.
- Once you receive your ID card in the mail, you will be able to buy weed from a state-licensed dispensary.
- It should not take more than 30 days to receive your ID card once the application has been sent.
What are the Qualifying Conditions Required to get a Medical Marijuana Card in Missouri?
At present, you could be eligible for an MMJ card in Missouri if you have one of the following medical conditions:
- A terminal illness
- A chronic medical condition typically treated by prescription drugs that could lead to dependence, addition, or other negative side effects
- A chronic medical condition that causes severe and persistent muscle spasms. Qualifying conditions of this nature include MS, Parkinson’s disease, and seizures
- Debilitating psychiatric disorders including PTSD
- Intractable migraines that have not responded to other forms of treatment
- Any chronic medical condition such as hepatitis C, ALS, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington’s disease, and autism. Eligibility for such illnesses depends on the ‘professional judgment’ of a doctor.
What are Medical Cannabis Card Costs in Missouri?
It should cost $25 to apply for an MMJ card, and it is likely to be valid for a year, but this has not been confirmed. If you wish to cultivate weed, it will cost $10,000 for the first year and $25,000 per annum after that. If you wish to gain a license for infused products, you will need to pay $6,000 in year one and $10,000 from year 2 onwards.
Finally, if you want to run a dispensary in Missouri, you need to pay $6,000 initially and $10,000 per annum from year two onwards.
Other Important Information on the Missouri Medical Marijuana License Process
There is concern that the state’s executive branch will not be able to get the paperwork done in time. A physician named Gil Mobley spoke to a local newspaper in late 2018 and said it was unlikely the state would have the paperwork ready until January 2020.
If you need medical marijuana in Missouri, it is going to be several months at least. Although you or a caregiver (who must be aged 21+) can grow a maximum of six plants in an enclosed and locked facility with security devices; it will take several months for your crop to be ready for harvest. By the way, the process also involves procuring illegal cannabis seeds!
Unfortunately, the whole thing seems to be a mess at present. Even if you apply and receive your MMJ card by August 2019, you won’t be able to purchase it anywhere! Remember, the DHSS only begins accepting applications from dispensaries in August and the waiting period can be up to 150 days.
As a result, you won’t be able to walk into a dispensary in many Missouri counties until January 2020 at the earliest. This doesn’t take into account other issues such as local zoning approvals, conditional use, and so on. Then there is the small matter of finding a physician who will approve you in the first place!
When the dust settles, and you get your MMJ card and buy weed legally from a dispensary, it will only be allowed for private and personal use. Even though the drug is legal at a state legal, it is illegal federally. This means hospitals can continue to ban its use amongst its patients.
It is a sad situation, and the likes of Nolan Sousley are the ones suffering the most because of this bureaucracy. Sousley wrote a letter to a local newspaper where he said that he hoped the video he posted helps advance the cause of medical marijuana nationwide and allows people in his situation to die with dignity on their terms. Amen to that.