The medical marijuana program in Missouri is still relatively new. As a result, 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 the same year, Governor Jay Nixon signed the state’s Medical Marijuana Bill into law. However, 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. The new law allowed medicinal marijuana in the state. All retail sales are subjected to a 4% tax. The state intends to use the proceeds 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. The original goal was to have almost 200 dispensaries in the state by 2020. However, at the time of writing, most questions surrounding the medical marijuana program are answerable with ‘To Be Determined.’
By December 2019, the state had 22,000 qualified patients. Yet they must STILL wait for dispensaries to open. The state Department of Health admitted that it would not issue dispensary licenses until January 2020.
In this article, we try to make sense of what is going on in Missouri. We also provide you with information on applying for an MMJ card.
The Definitive Guide on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Missouri
The hope was that the program would be fully in place mid-2019. Alas, there is still no legal method of purchasing cannabis in 2020. It also seems as if 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. Patients in Missouri believed that July 4, 2019, was an important date. It was the day when they could start their application for an MMJ card. They thought they could potentially get their hands on medical marijuana by August 5.
On January 5, 2019, the DHSS began to accept pre-filed application fees. The program’s estimated timeline for 2019 involved awarding licenses by the end of 2019. It didn’t come to fruition.
The ‘Good’ Doctors
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. We have heard of a few physicians in the state who approve patients without even meeting them!
The Missouri MMJ program doesn’t specify that you need a bona fide doctor-patient relationship.
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 ten years since the herb was made legal. At around $150-$200 apiece, it is a lucrative industry. Indeed, most Missouri consultations cost $200-250.
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 you send the application.
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, addiction, or other adverse 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 costs $25 to apply for an MMJ card. It is valid for a year. If you wish to cultivate weed commercially, it will cost $10,000 for the first year and $25,000 per annum after that. To get a license for infused products, you will need to pay $6,000 in year one and $10,000 from year two onwards.
Finally, if you want to run a dispensary in Missouri, you need to pay $6,000 initially. It costs $10,000 per annum from year two onwards.
Other Important Information on the Missouri Medical Marijuana License Process
There was concern that the state’s executive branch could not get the paperwork done in time. A physician named Gil Mobley spoke to a local newspaper in late 2018. Mobley said it was unlikely the state would have the paperwork ready until January 2020. These fears were realized. Now, we can only take the state at its word with regards to the program in 2020.
Realistically, if you need medical marijuana in Missouri, you potentially face a wait of several months, at least.
A patient or their caregiver (who must be aged 21+) can grow a maximum of six plants. You can only do so in an enclosed and locked facility with security devices. It will take several months for your crop to be ready for harvest. The process also involves procuring illegal cannabis seeds as they are still not legal at the time of writing.
The latest update says qualifying patients can buy up to four ounces of dried cannabis in 30 days. You can get more with a written certification from two independent physicians. Also, you can possess a maximum of a 60-day supply of dried marijuana or equivalent.
Medical Marijuana in Missouri – Final Thoughts
As we enter 2020, you still can’t walk into a dispensary in Missouri. The first locations could likely open in January 2020. However, it 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!
Once you get your MMJ card and buy weed legally from a dispensary, it is 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. In it, he said that he hoped the video he posted helps advance the cause of medical marijuana nationwide. He also hopes it allows people in his situation to die with dignity on their terms. Amen to that. Sadly, Nolan passed away in August 2019.