Missouri residents may not have access to recreational marijuana in retail stores until Feb. 6, 2023. However, the terms of the law – your ability to legally smoke marijuana without a medical license – go into effect Dec. 8.  

But before you light up or bake those brownies, read this story.  As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.”  

WHAT’S LEGAL

The amendment makes it legal for anyone over age 21 to “purchase, possess, consume, use, ingest, inhale, process, transport, deliver without a price, or distribute without a cost, three ounces or less of dried, unprocessed marijuana or its equivalent.

Individuals can also cultivate a certain amount of marijuana for their own consumption. See details on cultivation later in this article.    

WHAT’S NOT LEGAL

Operating or being in physical control of any motor vehicle, train, aircraft, motorboat or other motorized form of transportation while under the influence of or consuming marijuana.  

Pay attention here. Also, not legal is smoking marijuana within a motor vehicle, train, aircraft, motorboat or other motorized form of transportation while it is being operated. So, you or you and your homies can’t ride and get high.  

College students pay attention here, even if you’re over age 21. Individuals are not allowed to possess or consume marijuana or possess marijuana accessories on the grounds of a public or private preschool, elementary or secondary school, institution of higher education, i.e. college campuses, in a school bus or on the grounds of any correctional facility.  Notice this includes possession, not just consumption, so leave your weed at home.  

Smoking marijuana in any location where smoking tobacco is prohibited. 

Consumption of marijuana in a public place, other than in an area licensed by authorities for consumption of marijuana.  

YOUR RIGHTS

An individual cannot be denied eligibility in public assistance programs or public benefits based solely on conduct permitted under Amendment 3.

An individual cannot be denied parental rights, custody of, or visitation with a minor child by a state or local government solely due to conduct that is permitted under Amendment 3, unless the person’s behavior can be established to create an unreasonable danger to a minor child.   

EMPLOYMENT

The amendment does not require an employer to:  

Permit or accommodate consuming marijuana in any workplace or on the job site.

Does not prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for working while under the influence of marijuana. 

Prevent an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against a person because that person was working while under the influence of marijuana.

PERSONAL CULTIVATION

Within 30 days of Dec. 8, Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) application forms for personal cultivation registration cards will be available and within 60 days, the department will begin accepting the applications. Individuals are allowed to cultivate for their personal use up to six flowering marijuana plants, six non flowering marijuana plants (over 14” tall) and six clones (plants under 14” tall).

The plants and any marijuana produced by the plants in excess of three ounces must be kept in a locked space and must not be visible by “normal, unaided vision from a public place.”  

If multiple individuals at a location have a cultivation license, the maximum number of flowering plants at one location is still limited to 12 flowering marijuana plants.  

FINES

Yes, consumption of recreational marijuana is legal, but individuals can still be fined for not complying with parts of the law.  

Individuals who don’t keep their cultivated plants out of view as required above can be fined $250.

Individuals who don’t keep their cultivated plants and excess dried marijuana locked up can be fined $250 

Anyone under age 21 who consumes or interacts with marijuana in a way legal for individuals 21 or older, with a maximum possession of 3 ounces of dried marijuana or equivalent, can be levied a civil fine of up to $100 and must forfeit the marijuana.  In lieu of the fine, these individuals can opt to attend up to four hours of drug education or counseling.

A person who possesses more of the amount of marijuana allowed under the amendment but less than twice the amount allowed for personal consumption or for distribution without compensation can be subject to the following fines and charges: 

• 1st violation, will be a civil infraction punishable by a civil penalty not exceeding $250

• 2nd violation, is still a civil infraction, with a civil penalty not to exceed $500

• 3rd or subsequent violations are a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,500

• A person under 21 similarly charged can be fined $250, but can opt instead to complete eight hours of drug education or counseling

• Individuals over 21, found in violation of the above, can pay their penalties through community service at the rate of $15 per hour or the current minimum wage rate, whichever is higher. 

Follow our extended coverage on Marijuana here

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Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...