Marijuana laws in Missouri remain unchanged after voters were denied the right to vote on establishing a medical cannabis program in the state in 2016. As a result, thousands of patients suffering from a wide range of conditions will continue to be forbidden from legally accessing medical marijuana.
According to the office of the Missouri Secretary of State, the initiative failed because it fell short of the required number of votes in one congressional district — by approximately 2,200 signatures. Sponsors argued that determination in court, but a judge would later rule that the actual number of signatures needed was a mere 23 — still enough to deny the initiative.
Advocates fighting to reform Missouri marijuana laws remain undeterred, however, and they are expected to once again introduce legislation that will hopefully lead to a sensible policy. Many lawmakers in the state filed bills to change Missouri medical marijuana laws, but none of them passed. One lawmaker proposed a bill that would regulate cannabis much like alcohol.
Some progress was made, in 2014, when the legislature approved changes to the state’s criminal code so possession of a small amount of weed — 10 grams or less — would only be punishable by a fine, not to exceed $500, rather than a jail sentence. However, the state still classifies this offense as a criminal misdemeanor, and possession of larger amounts of marijuana still result in jail time.
For example, if someone is convicted of possessing more than 10 but less than 35 grams of weed, they could face as much as a one-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $2,000. Under marijuana law in Missouri, if someone is convicted of a second offense, they will still face the same punishment even if the amount possessed was less than 10 grams.
Anyone convicted of possession of 35 grams to 30 kilograms of pot will face a Class C felony charge. This could lead to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Possession of from 30-100 kg of weed will be looking at five to 15 years in jail and a fine of anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000.
The cultivation, sale or manufacture of five grams or less of weed is considered a Class C felony, carrying a prison sentence of up to seven years and a fine of as much as $5,000. If someone is convicted of selling cannabis within 1,000 feet of a public housing building or within 2,000 feet of a school, they face anywhere from 10 years to life in prison and a fine of between $5,000 and $20,000. However, Senate Bill 56, introduced in Dec 2016, will allow licenses to be granted for the manufacturing, cultivation, distribution, and sale of medical marijuana.
Even the possession of paraphernalia could result in a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
MarijuanaDoctors.com will continue to monitor developments in Missouri medical marijuana laws and keep you updated. Hopefully, legislative efforts will one day make it possible for patients in the state to find the relief they need without having to turn to powerful, potentially addictive medications.