After Missouri voters last week approved a state constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana, the state is set on a path to begin allowing adults age 21 and older to possess marijuana …
After Missouri voters last week approved a state constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana, the state is set on a path to begin allowing adults age 21 and older to possess marijuana for personal use and to engage in commercial businesses related to marijuana.
But the amendment doesn’t go into effect right away, and some changes will take longer for the state government to implement. Below are some relevant things to know about the marijuana amendment.
Marijuana legalization doesn’t go into effect until Dec. 8. Following that date, adults age 21 and older will be able to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana for personal use.
However, that doesn’t mean marijuana will be allowed anywhere and everywhere. The amendment creates a penalty of up to $100 for smoking marijuana in a public place unless local authorities specifically permit such activity.
Individuals may not sell or trade marijuana that they possess for personal use.
The amendment will allow adults to begin growing their own marijuana at home, but there are strict requirements for where and how the marijuana plants are stored. Home growers must also receive a license from the state.
A licensed person will be allowed to have six flowering plants, six non-flowering plants over 14 inches tall, and six developing plants under 14 inches tall. The plants must be kept in a locked area away from public view.
Those eager to grow will have to wait until the state begins issuing personal cultivation licenses. License applications will be available by Jan. 7 and the first cultivation licenses will be awarded no later than Feb. 6.
The personal cultivation licenses will require an annual fee of $100.
Existing medical marijuana-related businesses won’t be able to immediately engage in deregulated selling and production. They’ll have to go through a process of changing their state-issued license into a “comprehensive” marijuana business license of their same type (growing, manufacturing, or selling).
The amendment gives existing medical marijuana businesses exclusive priority to convert their licenses for about 18 months. After that, any new licenses will be available to any applicant via a lottery system.
By June 2023, Missouri regulators are also required to start offering applications for marijuana “microbusinesses,” a separate category of additional licensing intended for people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
The amendment puts restrictions on the standards that police officers can use to initiate a detention, search, or arrest.
Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana remains illegal, and police suspecting such conduct can initiate an investigation.
But the amendment otherwise bars police from using the mere presence of marijuana as the basis for a criminal investigation, unless officers have specific evidence that a person possesses more than the legal limit or is engaging in conduct that’s not allowed under the amendment.
Readers should also be aware of a bit of incorrect information that has circulated on social media. The marijuana amendment creates a “chief equity officer” job position within the Missouri health department. Some opponents of the amendment have incorrectly described this position as being associated with so-called “critical race theory.”
However, according to the text of the amendment, the function of the chief equity officer is to work within “communities that have been impacted by marijuana prohibition” to provide information and support for community members who want to start a licensed marijuana business.
The amendment calls for the equity officer to establish “public education programming” to inform communities about how to start a marijuana business. Several sources have incorrectly misinterpreted this text to be a reference to public schools.
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