Missouri Cannabis Laws

Is Cannabis Legal In Missouri?
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StateRecreationalMedical MarijuanaCBD

Federal Law:

Recreational Medical MarijuanaCBD

Is recreational cannabis legal in Missouri?

No. While cannabis has been partially decriminalized in Missouri, recreational sale and use are still illegal. Informal polling from Missouri’s legislature has found overwhelming support from Missourians to legalize recreational use; citizens now await their incumbents to take action.

Most recently, Republican lawmaker Shamed Dogan, started angling to end its prohibition on recreational cannabis. This bill represents a shift in normalizing cannabis since it’s without any testing facilities “a Missouri Republican representative is pushing to legalize recreational marijuana.”

Missouri’s 2014 Senate Bill 491 eliminated jail time for first-time cannabis offenses (such as possession of 10 grams or less), reduced penalties for cultivation and sale, eliminated the ban on probation/parole for third-time drug felony convictions. The law took effect in 2017

Is Medical Marijuana legal in Missouri?

Yes. Medical Marijuana became legal in 2018, with the approval of voter measure Amendment 2. The law allows registered patients and caregivers to purchase up to 4 oz of cannabis from medical dispensaries a month and home cultivation of up to 6 plants per registered patient. 

State licensed physicians can recommend medical marijuana to patients who they deem will benefit from cannabis treatment or have been diagnosed with these qualifying conditions: cancer, glaucoma, PTSD, MS, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, intractable migraines, terminal illnesses, spinal cord injuries, and certain psychiatric disorders. 

Unfortunately, since the bill passed, Missouri’s Medical Marijuana program has faced multiple delays ranging from bureaucratic roadblocks, shutdowns due to COVID-19, problems with testing facilities. While a few dispensaries and growing provisions were already open, none of the cannabis could be legally sold without any testing facilities. 

Before Amendment 2, Missouri passed the Missouri Medical Marijuana bill in 2014, which legalized the use of CBD oil for patients with epilepsy. 

Are CBD products legal in Missouri? 

Yes. Since the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States, as long as they contain at most 0.3% THC. 

Any and all CBD in food and drink is still federally illegal.

Missouri’s Cannabis Timeline:

1937: The Marihuana (archaic spelling of Marijuana) Tax Act was enacted banning cannabis at the federal level. Medical Marijuana use was still permitted.

1951: The Boggs Act, Sponsored by Hale Boggs and signed into law under President Harry S. Truman, This act set mandatory sentencing and increased punishment for cannabis possession. 

1969: The Marihuana Tax Act is deemed unconstitutional in the landmark Leary v. United States. Timothy Leary, a professor, and activist, was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Leary then challenged the act on the ground that the act required self-incrimination, which violated his Fifth Amendment rights. (The self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant, better known as “Pleading the Fifth.”) The court’s unanimous opinion was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Therefore, Leary’s conviction was overturned.

1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted (replacing the unconstitutional Marihuana Tax Act). Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose. This act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. 

This legislation created five classifications, with specific qualifications for a substance to be included in each. The substances scheduling (classification) are determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, Congress does have the power to schedule or de-schedule substances through legislation. Substance scheduling decisions are based on its potential for abuse, accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties.

Classification of Controlled Substances:

Schedule I: High potential of abuse, not acceptable for medical use

Schedule II: High potential of abuse, sometimes allowed with “severe restrictions” for medical use

Schedule II: Medium potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule IV: Moderate potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule V: Lowest potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

1984-1986: Mandatory Sentencing and the three-strikes law were created under the Reagan Administration. This accounted, for some of the harshest drug laws created including mandatory 25-year imprisonment for certain drug offenses and created the death penalty’s promotion to be used against “drug kingpins.”

1998: House Joint Resolution 117, encouraged by the passing of California’s Prop 215, the House of Representatives passed this measure to support the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of certain drugs.  

2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment passed in the U.S. House and signed into law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

2014: Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill, legalizing the use of CBD oil to treat epilepsy. 

2014: Missouri Senate Bill 491 decriminalized certain cannabis offenses. 

2017: Missouri decriminalization takes effect 

2018: Farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively de-schedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act. 

2018: Missouri’s Amendment 2 legalizes full-strength medical marijuana as a treatment for patients with qualifying conditions. 

2021: A Missouri Republican lawmaker proposes a cannabis legalization bill. Rep. Shamed Dogan states, “We spend more time and more law enforcement resources going after marijuana smokers than all the other drugs combined.”

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