The passage of Amendment 2 in November of 2018 legalized medical marijuana in the state of Missouri. Since then, the state has been working to create a framework for businesses to grow and sell cannabis and patients to obtain it. As of January 2020, the state began moving forward with the process of licensing dispensaries. Until those dispensaries are open, however, patients are left anxiously waiting for access.
In the meantime, potential patients who are interested in using marijuana as a treatment for chronic medical conditions can seek out a physician who is licensed by the state to file an approval form on their behalf. Here’s what those patients need to know about when medical marijuana will be available and what you will need to do to legally obtain it.
When will dispensaries open in Missouri?
In January, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services released details including name and locations for 192 licenses allocated to businesses that applied to sell medical marijuana. Despite this progress, it could still be some time before patients have access to medical marijuana through a licensed dispensary.
“We will be meeting with all licensed facilities during the first week of March,” said Lisa Cox, the Communication Director for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “Shortly after, we anticipate beginning to do commencement inspections with facilities so they can begin operations.”
This will begin with the cultivators and the testing labs. From there, the department will begin inspecting dispensaries as soon as individual businesses are ready.
So, when will patients be able to buy medical marijuana in the state of Missouri? According to Cox, each business is operating on its own timeline, but she is hopeful that dispensaries will begin opening by the summer of 2020.
Is there a dispensary near you?
When the Department of Health and Senior Services began approving licenses, regulators chose 24 businesses in each congressional district in the state. This density means there’s a good chance patients in Missouri will be able to find a licensed dispensary within a reasonable proximity.
Missouri residents who want to keep an eye out for an opening nearby can access a list of all 192 approved licenses on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website. This includes 40 dispensaries in Kansas City and the surrounding area and 72 in St. Louis and the surrounding area.
Who qualifies for medical marijuana in Missouri?
Amendment 2 establishes a comprehensive list of qualifying conditions determining which patients will be allowed to obtain medical marijuana. For the most part, this list includes chronic and debilitating conditions, like glaucoma, epilepsy, and migraines. Individuals with a terminal illness also qualify and debilitating psychiatric illness, such as PTSD, may warrant physician approval for use of medical marijuana.
To apply for an ID, you must be over the age of 18. Parents or caregivers can apply for a medical marijuana ID for qualifying minors. Patients will pay $25 each year for their registration.
Individuals who would like to cultivate marijuana at home can do so under Missouri law. The law states that a maximum of 18 plants can be grown, with no more than 12 of a plant in each phase of development. Before beginning home cultivation of cannabis plants, patients must register for a cultivation ID card, which costs $100 annually.
One setback patients are currently encountering is finding physicians who are licensed to approve medical marijuana use. Given the growing pains that come with implementing a new medical marijuana program, physicians are hesitant about jumping through the hoops necessary to become licensed to approve patients, according to the St. Louis Dispatch. This could create a delay for some patients, who are required to have a Physician Certification Form completed by a physician in order to complete their registration.
For more information and updates about dispensaries in Missouri, visit the Missouri Department of Health: Medical Marijuana FAQ or follow Missouri cannabis news.