With many US states turning over a new leaf when it comes to the medical marijuana debate, it was only a matter of time before many opted in for new laws and regulations surrounding the use of marijuana for designated medical treatments and care.
There are currently several states that have approved the use of medical marijuana without the legalization of recreational marijuana, and even more with both medical and recreational use legalized. With the myriad of new research surrounding the use of marijuana for medical treatment, it’s no wonder that so many states have jumped onto the bandwagon. But what about the Show-Me State? Read on for everything you need to know about Missouri and medical marijuana.
Is MMJ legal in Missouri?
In 2014, Missouri passed the HB 2238 bill, which included new legislation and the conception of the Missouri Hemp Extract Registration Program. Four years later, an amendment was voted on that brought into effect the Medical Marijuana and Veteran Health-care Service Initiative, which led to the legalization of medical marijuana based on state-licensed physicians’ recommendations.
The regulatory authority residing over the use of marijuana as an aid in medical treatment in Missouri is the Missouri Department of Health Senior Services. They are in charge of all application and processing requirements when it comes to obtaining a card for the legal use of medical marijuana.
Patients with medical marijuana cards can purchase a 30-day supply, or up to four ounces. If more is needed, a person will have to get recommendations from more than one certified physician.
Missouri medical card requirements
To receive a medical card in Missouri, you must follow a set of steps (outlined further below). Prior to submitting an application, though, you must confirm that you suffer from one or more of the qualifying conditions.
Qualifying conditions for the use of medical marijuana in Missouri include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intractable migraines
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other debilitating psychiatric disorders
- Sickle cell disease
- Terminal illness
- Any chronic condition treated with a medication that could lead to dependence
- Chronic conditions causing severe, persistent pain or muscle spasms including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
These conditions must be diagnosed by a certified physician who then recommends the use of marijuana as well as the amount needed to help combat symptoms. Following a doctor’s recommendation, the application process can begin.
How do you get a medical card in Missouri?
Getting a medical card in Missouri is not a difficult process if you follow the steps correctly and gather the correct information. First, a Physician Certification Form must be filled out and submitted. Then, registration will need to take place. Following registration, patients will be required to fill out the application. It can take up to 30 days for applications to be processed.
The patient will need to have their card on them at all times so that they are free to purchase their marijuana from licensed and registered Missouri dispensaries. A separate card, the cultivation card, will also allow a person to grow up to six personal cannabis plants on their property.
Getting a medical card can also be done through the use of telemedicine if a person is unable to see a physician in person. Following the application process, it will be determined whether a person qualifies; it is not guaranteed that applying for a card will mean getting one. For those who do get approved, an MMJ card is valid for one calendar year, so the process will need to be repeated annually.
Can you get fired for having a medical card in Missouri?
Laws surrounding employment in Missouri and medical marijuana cards aren’t as advanced as in other states. For example, a person who is employed can still be forced to undergo marijuana drug tests if it is mandated by the employer for any reason. Missouri cannot provide any assistance or protection for MMJ card holders from legal drug testing through their employer, and discretion is left up to the company when it comes to MMJ card status and usage and drug testing.
There are, however, regulations that prevent the unlawful termination or discrimination against anyone with a medical marijuana card; thus, a person cannot be fired or passed on for hiring based solely on the fact that they have an MMJ card.
There are exceptions to this rule – for example, certain positions that require a more sensitive approach to safety, such as jobs that require the use or carrying of firearms or the performance of life-threatening procedures. The Missouri Act 593 highlights all professions that may not fall under the safety of MMJ regulations when it comes to employment.
The use of medical marijuana has gained widespread attention due to the amount of new research coming out and the ailments MMJ has the potential to help treat. With more and more states evolving to legalize medical marijuana, it could mean good things for those with qualifying conditions.
Featured image by Brittney Butler on Unsplash