Is Weed Legal in Missouri? Plus MO Weed Laws & Missouri Marijuana Legalization Efforts in 2024

Is Weed Legal in Missouri? Plus MO Weed Laws & Missouri Marijuana Legalization Efforts in 2024

Is Weed Legal in Missouri? Plus MO Weed Laws & Missouri Marijuana Legalization Efforts in 2024

Photo by Kevin Early:

Is Weed Legal In Missouri?

Yes, cannabis has been legalized in Missouri both medically and recreationally. It’s been legal for recreational use since it was legalized in December 2022 and it has been legal for medical use since 2018.

This means that cannabis is available for legal purchase and use by all adults that are of age. It’s also available for medical patients who fit the proper criteria as far back as October 2020.

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Missouri Marijuana Legislation: What Does this Mean For Residents?

Cannabis legalization is slowly spreading throughout the United States. It means not just the availability of cannabis’s many health benefits for countless medical patients but also much needed income for state economies.

The world of cannabis legalization can be somewhat complex. This post will cover the full scope of marijuana legislation throughout Missouri and cover the various ways residents can legally purchase, consume, and carry cannabis.

By its 4th month of legal recreational sales, Missouri surpassed 1 billion dollars in cannabis sales. Cannabis legalization can mean not just a major shift in attitudes about marijuana but also a major economic shift. Legalizing cannabis not only means more tax revenue but also more jobs as you pull the trigger on a booming global industry.

Before exploring Missouri’s cannabis laws, how exactly do cannabis laws work?

How Do Cannabis Laws Work?

Before covering cannabis laws in Missouri here’s a quick breakdown of cannabis legalization throughout the United States. It is fairly simple but can seem a bit confusing. After all, if all but 4 states have some form of legalized cannabis why can’t it simply be legalized.

Currently, cannabis remains illegal federally. However, there are three ways it can be decriminalized and potentially legalized. They are as follows:

  • Decriminalization reduces the criminal charges and severity of cannabis possession but does not legalize it for use. This post covers the main differences between decriminalization and legalization.
  • Medical Marijuana Legalization legalizes cannabis for medical use and prescription by doctors. The conditions under which one can prescribe and legally obtain cannabis must be regulated.
  • Recreational Marijuana Legalization essentially fully legalizes cannabis throughout the state and opens up dispensaries to all adults legally of age. There can still be caps for how much a person can obtain, carry, and purchase.

The dilemma of cannabis legalization is there’s a lot of bureaucratic red tape and changes that must take place before states can open themselves up to legal cannabis sales.

Marijuana Laws in Missouri

As far back as May 2014, Senate Bill 491 was passed to decriminalize cannabis. It reduced penalties for certain cannabis offenses. It eliminated the threat of jail time for first-time possession of up to 10 grams and decreased penalties for the sale and cultivation of cannabis. That being said, despite being passed it did not go into effect until January 2017.

The standard track for cannabis legalization is often decriminalization, the legalization of a cannabis product for medical use like CBD oil, medical marijuana legalization then, if successful, recreational cannabis. That happened in Missouri.

After decriminalization, Missouri legalized CBD oil under House Bill 2238. This legalized CBD obtained from hemp not marijuana. Marijuana is defined as any hemp plant that contains more than .3% THC. The United States would end up federally legalizing CBD with the 2018 Farm Bill.

Medical marijuana has been legal with doctor’s approval since 2018. Missouri voters voted yes on a ballot measure which became Amendment 2. This approved medical marijuana use, a 4% tax, and had tax revenue put towards healthcare for veterans.

Weed became legal in Missouri for recreational use and possession on December 8, 2022. Amendment 3 earned 53% voter support and legalized the following:

  • non-medical personal cannabis use
  • possession of up to 3 ounces
  • home cultivation of up to 6 flowering plants, 6 nonflowering plants and 6 clones for a $100 annual fee
  • 3% sales tax on cannabis
  • 6% taxes on dispensaries
  • the division of tax revenue between expunging non-violent cannabis offenses, providing healthcare for veterans, substance abuse treatment, and the state’s public defender system

Article XVI was passed which also covers some of the legal specifics of transition to recreational cannabis and the limitations for how much one can possess.

The world of cannabis law can be a bit confusing and somewhat esoteric. Again, it’s not a simple yes vs. no, many decisions must be decided on the legal level. For example, Missouri’s marijuana programs are managed by Missouri’s Department of Health & Senior Services.

Decisions ranging from who will manage cannabis to what conditions are medically viable for a cannabis prescription must all be decided on the governmental level before sales can begin.

Missouri does have a list of qualifying medical conditions but it also allows for the prescription of cannabis for any terminal illness and any “chronic, debilitating or other medical condition” a physician determines there would be a benefit. This is valuable as not many states are this liberal with cannabis prescriptions.

Is Recreational Weed Legal In Missouri?

As of December 8, 2022, recreational marijuana was made officially legal to possess and use in Missouri for adults 21 and over. Amendment 3 was added to the state constitution officially legalizing cannabis.

Adults can legally possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to 6 flowering plants for personal use on private property. Public consumption of cannabis does remain illegal.

However, there was a delay in implementation until February 2023 meaning that the possession and use of cannabis within the parameters of the law were legal but the locations for residents to purchase cannabis were simply not available.

The opening weekend of Missouri’s recreational sales from February 3 to February 5, 2023 resulted in a combined total of $12,689,965.07 in both recreational and medical marijuana sales.

Is Recreational Weed Legal In Missouri?

Photo by Nick Haynes

When Is Weed Legal In Missouri?

Weed became legal in Missouri for recreational use and possession on December 8, 2022 under Amendment 3. This made cannabis legal for possession but due to the legal requirements of establishing recreational storefronts and the transition from medical marijuana dispensaries to allow recreational sales weed was not legally available for purchase until February 2023.

Medical marijuana has been legal with doctor’s approval since 2018.

When Will Recreational Marijuana Be Available In Missouri?

Given the logistics of regulatory review and approvals of adult-use licenses for dispensaries, recreational sales in Missouri did not begin until early February 2023.

Legally, the Missouri Department of Health had to approve adult-use licenses for existing licensed medical cannabis retailers in order to open their doors to recreational purchases.

When Does Recreational Sales Start In Missouri?

Recreational cannabis sales began in February 2023 when current medical dispensaries received formal state approval to also sell adult-use marijuana under the regulations enacted by Amendment 3.

Licensed Missouri dispensaries had until December 8, 2022 to apply for an “early start” recreational license. The Missori health department then had 60 days to review applications and approve licenses.

While cannabis can be legalized, there are a ton of regulations in the laws governing who can open dispensaries, how they can operate, and how they manage their businesses. This includes taxes, testing, and logistics.

While this may not make sense at first to eager wannabe cannabis users, the lines of legalized cannabis must be clear and the regulations are often on the state level. In the same way that liquor licenses can take time and seemingly odd regulations, the timeline of legalized cannabis implementation can take years.

Is It Legal To Smoke Weed In Missouri?

Despite being legal for purchase, in some states like Pennsylvania, it can remain illegal to smoke weed.

Luckily, in Missouri it is legal for adults 21 and over to smoke and vape THC products for recreational purposes privately in Missouri. This includes private residences not open to the public, i.e. residential homes, backyards, garages, etc.

However, this doesn’t mean you can smoke weed anywhere. Public use of cannabis products remains prohibited. Smoking cannabis openly in public spaces, such as parks, streets, restaurants, concert venues, etc. can still result in civil penalties like fines.

This is akin to public consumption of alcohol where you cannot legally drink anywhere and everywhere despite potentially purchasing alcohol in the open.

Can You Smoke Marijuana In Public In Missouri?

No. While the possession and use of cannabis for recreational purposes is now legal on private property for adults per Amendment 3, public consumption remains illegal.

Missouri residents that are of age still cannot legally smoke weed or vape THC products in public spaces like parks, streets, sidewalks, restaurants, apartments shared with non-consumers, etc.

Violations are punishable by civil fines of $100 for first offense, $200 for second, $500 for third, as enacted under Article XVI Section 3(17). As per the legalization, criminal charges will no longer apply for minor cannabis offenses.

Additionally, it’s important to note that it remains illegal to drive while under the influence.

When Is Recreational Weed Going To Be Legal In Missouri?

Recreational cannabis is legal as of December 8, 2022 for private personal use under Amendment 3 to Missouri’s state constitution.

While legal for personal use, licensed regulated retail sales did not begin until February 2023. Dispensaries needed to obtain adult-use licenses from the state health department with the earliest of these licenses being distributed in February 2023.

Can You Smoke Weed Outside In Missouri?

There is not a clear yes or no answer as it depends on where you are outside to follow the letter of the law.

Adults can legally smoke weed and vape THC products in some outdoor spaces only if these are privately owned by the cannabis consumer. Some examples include:

  • Backyards of private residences
  • Balconies or patios connected to their apartment unit
  • Private cabins on personal land

It remains illegal to smoke marijuana openly in public outdoor areas like sidewalks, public parks, entertainment venues, and even apartment common areas. Be sure to follow the letter of the law because while cannabis has been legalized violations of these regulations can result in $100-$500 in civil fines.

What Dispensaries Will Be Recreational In Missouri?

As of 2022, Missouri had over 140 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries which grew to 215 dispensaries ranging from medical to recreational to comprehensive. This spreadsheet by the Missouri Health Department features the full list of dispensaries in Missouri. This page also covers all cannabis based businesses in the area.

Has Missouri Legalized Out Of State Recreational Weed?

Missouri’s Amendment 3 did legalize cannabis for residents but did not allow for out-of-state customers to purchase recreational cannabis. However, as per the opening of cannabis sales, out-of-state visitors and non-residents can purchase cannabis with a legal ID.

When Can I Buy Edibles In Missouri?

Edibles are readily available for registered Missouri medical marijuana patients from licensed dispensaries and for recreational patients at cannabis dispensaries. As of February 6th, 2023, recreational cannabis sales were open to the public.

When Will Missouri Sell Recreational Weed?

Despite being officially legalized December 8, 2022, some of the bureaucratic red tape kept recreational weed from being available statewide.

State licensed medical dispensaries required proper licensing before beginning recreational marijuana sales. The Missouri Health Department approved these licenses as per a deadline of February 6, 2023 which opened the state to millions in recreational sales.

When Will Missouri Sell Recreational Weed?

Photo by Brittney Butler

When Is Weed Officially Legal In Missouri?

As of December 8, 2022, recreational marijuana was officially legal in Missouri under constitutional Amendment 3 (Article XVI, Section 3). While legal for personal use, regulated retail sales did not begin until February 2023.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Missouri as of 2018. Legal medical marijuana sales did not begin in the state until licenses of dispensaries were approved. The first medical marijuana sales in Missouri did not begin until October 17, 2020.

What Is The Legal Age To Smoke Weed In Missouri?

When cannabis is legalized recreationally it can often be treated like alcohol or tobacco. In Missouri, cannabis is legal for adults aged 21 and over. Adults can obtain and use cannabis without a medical marijuana card.

Providing marijuana to those under 21 can result in fines and penalties similar to providing alcohol or tobacco to those underage.

Medical patients under the age of 18 can receive a medical marijuana license. They will need a primary caregiver and the consent of a parent or legal guardian who will act as the primary caregiver which is what allows for the legal purchase of cannabis.

What Medical Conditions Are Approved for Marijuana Prescriptions in Missouri?

While recreational cannabis is legal, medical marijuana users may still want to pursue a formal marijuana prescription to save on taxes, which over time, can be high if you regularly need cannabis.

Currently, according to Missouri law the following medical conditions are approved for cannabis as a treatment:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Intractable migraines unresponsive to other treatment
  • A chronic medical condition that causes severe, persistent pain or persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, Parkinson’s disease, and Tourette’s syndrome
  • Debilitating psychiatric disorders, including, but not limited to, post-traumatic stress order, if diagnosed by a state licensed psychiatrist.
  • A chronic medical condition that is normally treated with prescription medications that could lead to physical or psychological dependence, when a physician determines that medical use of marijuana could be effective in treating that condition and would serve as a safer alternative to the prescription medication.
  • A terminal illness.
  • In the professional judgment of a physician, any other chronic, debilitating or other medical condition, including, but not limited to: hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, autism, neuropathies, sickle cell anemia, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, and wasting syndrome.

How To Buy Recreational Marijuana In Missouri?

The process of purchasing recreational cannabis is fairly straightforward. However, you must purchase cannabis from a recreationally licensed dispensary. Medical marijuana dispensaries require a medical marijuana card and prescription while recreational locations only require you to show a valid state-issued identification card.

Recreational dispensaries have all of the popular products like vapes, dabs, edibles, and cannabis flower. Please note, there are caps for how much you can legally purchase.

How Long Does it Take to Get Your Medical Card in Missouri?

While recreational cannabis is legal if you have a medical need for cannabis it may be more beneficial to get your medical marijuana card. Having your medical marijuana card can save you a significant amount in taxes.

Having a medical marijuana card raises your possession limits for how much cannabis you can purchase and keep and priority in the rare case that the state were to run out of cannabis products.

Getting a medical marijuana card in Missouri is fairly easy and here’s the timeline from making your appointment to having your card:

  1. Schedule an appointment with a Green Health Docs provider.
    • Telemedicine appointments are available 6-7 days per week.
    • Patients can typically schedule their appointment for the same week or even the same day.
  2. Meet with your provider. If approved, patients will be entered into the state registry within 24 hours.
  3. Patients will then receive an email with instructions on how to complete the registration process through their MyComplia account. Applications can take up to 30 days to be approved by the state.
  4. Once the state approves the patient’s registration, the patient will then be able to log back into their MyComplia account to access their certification. With their approved registration and active certification from a provider, patients can then immediately start purchasing from dispensaries.

Total time frame: About 30 business days from your appointment date.

Final Thoughts

Cannabis legalization can seem pretty complicated considering most of the United States would likely approve of it. Luckily, cannabis has been legalized for Missouri state residents. However, the question of whether you want to simply engage with recreational cannabis or pursue a medical marijuana registration is important to consider.

Cannabis taxes can be high and if you need medical marijuana for a condition or illness it may be worth getting your medical marijuana card. Luckily, Green Health Docs makes the process simple, straightforward, and will offer you support to make the process seamless.


Dr. Anand DugarThis article has been reviewed by Dr. Anand Dugar, an anesthesiologist, pain medicine physician and the founder of Green Health Docs. Graduating from medical school in 2004 and residency in 2008, Dr. Dugar has been a licensed physician for almost 20 years and has been leading the push for medical cannabis nationwide.