Missouri Cannabis Law 2021

Written by Mark Pedersen

Written by Mark Pedersen

March 3, 2021

After scanning through the plethora of Cannabis House and Senate bills currently passing through Missouri’s Statehouse, your heads should be spinning, if not flying off your shoulders.  This is exactly what I have been warning you about for the past number of years. This is what happens when poorly written Cannabis initiatives are passed. 

Thus begins the seemingly endless pleading of our lawmakers, to augment the imperfect mess of a “medical” bill that had been laid in their laps.  Now we must beg the predominantly prohibitionist House and Senate to grant us the freedoms that we originally were seeking. Unfortunately, what results is ALWAYS either draconian sanctions or divisive industry building. I’m sure, those of you who have been following along can see that currently happening. 
Rarely can we get what we actually want from the State House. It’s unfortunate, but lawmakers only adhere to their oath to us when it profits them.

The result of all the lobbying frenzy is summarized here… or should I say, much of it is. Reading so much nonsense isn’t good for the human psyche. Seeing how our freedoms are so easily manipulated has a way of making one depressed, if not bitter.  But there are good things to report. It’s a mixed bag. Since Missourians have chosen the long and difficult road to Cannabis freedom, we must work with what we have been given.

. . . . . . . .

House Bills

HB198    Ellebracht, Mark

0205H.01I – Criminalizes the disclosure of medical marijuana patients’ information to unauthorized parties.

“This bill prohibits state agencies from disclosing to the federal government or any unauthorized third party a statewide list or any individual information of persons who have applied for or obtained a medical marijuana card. The penalty for violation is a class E felony. This bill is the same as HB2143 and HB1455(2020);and similar to HB238, HB341, HB472, and HCSSB6(2019).”

This is absolutely important.  The very thought that our personal medical information could be handed off, to law enforcement or the Feds…    Of course, we wouldn’t need a bill to protect us from the Feds if prohibitionist lawmakers weren’t so quick to throw patients under the bus… or hey. Better yet. What if we just didn’t collect sensitive information from our citizenry, to begin with? With REAL legalization it wouldn’t be necessary.

HB501 is an identical bill.

* * * * * * *

HB263    Merideth, Peter

“0898H.01I – Establishes and modifies provisions relating to the legalization of marijuana.”

I can safely say that there is NO part of this bill that I don’t find disgusting.

“HB263—LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA SPONSOR: Merideth This bill legalizes the possession and use of marijuana by an individual 21 years of age or older who purchases the marijuana from a licensed retail marijuana store.”

So the author of this abomination considers the only “legal pot” to be what is purchased from a “licensed retail marijuana store”. Here is yet another prohibitionist looking to cash-in on the “pot craze”.

“Possession, unlawful distribution, and manufacture of marijuana by persons under 21 years of age remains classified as criminal offenses based on the amount of marijuana involved as specified in current law.”

“Growing, manufacturing, selling, displaying, transferring, delivering, packaging, processing, cultivating, or harvesting marijuana or marijuana products will be legal only in political subdivisions that affirmatively vote to allow such activities.”

Its easy to “sell-out” those who require Cannabis when your sights are on the big bucks.  Imagine a world where communities could, or would for whatever abominable reason, opt-out of cancer therapies. Sound absurd? You bet it is. But when terminally ill patients seek a holistic choice to combat their cancer, or a child with profound seizure disorder chooses the more effective Cannabis therapy – and their community suddenly chooses to “opt-out”… Well, let’s just say, I have met MANY parents who continue to live under the threat of arrest, even in so-called “legal states”.

I’m curious… How much flour can one possess before it, too, becomes a criminal offense? Or, let’s say, spinach. How much leafy greens can someone have on their person without threat of arrest?

There’s a three year old in Joplin right now whose sole treatment to offset his brain cancer is, you guessed it, Cannabis.
It’s apparent that the author of this bill,
Peter Merideth, either doesn’t put much thought into the bills that he writes, OR, he has absolutely no concern for the chronically and terminally ill of Missouri, whose lives he would so casually cut short.

“This bill does not require an employer to permit or accommodate the use of marijuana in the workplace or allow driving under the influence of marijuana.”

Obviously, Merideth doesn’t want to offend those whom might fund future campaigns. After all, “pot smokers” don’t work and God knows they couldn’t possibly drive a car after smoking their “wacky to-baccy”. My God, has this guy been living under a rock?

“The bill does not prevent a school, hospital, detention facility or any other entity from prohibiting or regulating the possession and use of marijuana on its property.”

Ok. Let’s see… Seizure patients cannot be allowed to attend school… or , for that matter, anyone who depends on Cannabis?

In Colorado a number of years ago, I was the Cannabis caregiver for a 15 year old boy. His name was Jack. A lot of people in Colorado knew Jack. You see, he was the namesake for a law there called, “Jack’s Law”.

Jack suffered from cerebral palsy and dystonia. His condition would cause his body to twist and contort – with great agony. He was confined to a wheelchair and could only communicate through an electronic device.  Jack was continually on life support and required a skilled RN to always be present with him, along with  monitoring devices and oxygen.

Cannabis eased Jack’s symptoms, calming the dystonia flares, literally allowing his body to relax. Without Cannabis, school, even physical therapy, was quite difficult, if not impossible.

It was always a major undertaking for Jack to go anywhere. Attending school required much, very deliberate preparation. For Jack to go home at mid day to medicate, his nurse and helper (if one were available) would have to go through the tedious process of packing up everything that always accompanied him, and loading it all in his van, driving him home, unloading it all, administering his suppository (his method of administration), then loading it all back up and returning to school.
It was all very hard on Jack. He often wasn’t able to return to his classes.

Jack’s mother worked diligently to pass “Jack’s Law”, which enabled children who required Cannabis therapy to receive their medication while in school. With it’s unanimous passing, chronically and terminally ill children all over Colorado were able to attend school, many for the first time.

Obviously Mr. Merideth has no concept of just what Cannabis is and how VERY important it is to Missouri’s suffering children.

Regarding “detention facilities”, prisons and such. I guess it’s common practice in Missouri to strip inmates of their life preserving medications. Missouri’s incarcerated must just have to suffer.  The current pandemic has been shedding light on the injustices within Missouri’s prison system. Here is yet another.

“The Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, within the Department of Public Safety, is given the authority to develop rules and regulations for the issuance, renewal, suspension, and revocation of licenses; licensure application and renewal fees; qualifiations for licensure, including security requirements for retail marijuana establishments; labeling requirements; health and safety standards; advertising restrictions; and independent testing requirements.”

If there were one entity that was LEAST QUALIFIED to “develop rules and regulations for “… issuance, renewal, suspension, and revocation of licenses; licensure application and renewal fees; qualifications for licensure, including security requirements”, it would be the “Division of Alcohol and Tobacco”.
These purveyors of toxins CAUSE disease. Cannabis is healing and health for our people and our planet. Only a profiteer with his sights set on recreational profits would be so cold as to hand off our medicine to those who cause much of the disease that Cannabis actually treats.

“This bill creates a tax, similar to the current cigarette tax, to be levied upon the sale or transfer of marijuana. The money from such tax shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund. This bill is similar to HB1978(2020)and HB551(2019).”

It only stands to reason that a prohibitionist would impose an “excise tax”, or, more correctly, a “sin tax” on those who consume Cannabis.  Unfortunately, I have witnessed this bigotry all over our nation.  It’s unfortunate that the only thing that can entice our corrupt lawmakers into supporting Cannabis reform is money.

Consuming Cannabis is NOT a sin! It has been food and medicine for the human race for over twenty-five thousand years. It’s time to end the apathy and the lies.    

* * * * * * *

HB325    Price IV, Wiley

“0249H.01I – Establishes and modifies provisions relating to the legalization of marijuana for adult use”

“HB325—LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA SPONSOR: Price IV This bill creates the ‘Adult Use Act’. The act legalizes the possession and use of marijuana by an individual 21 years of age or older who purchases the marijuana from a licensed retail marijuana store.”

Oh great, another “rec” bill. 
It always amazes me at how flippantly and prolifically these profiteers use the word “legalize”.  Heavily regulated is not legal.

This bill is VERY similar to HB263. Apparently, plagiarism is as prolific in the statehouse as it is in Cannabis reform.      

“Possession, unlawful distribution, and manufacture of marijuana by persons under 21 years of age remains classified as criminal offenses based on the amount of marijuana involved as specified in current law. Growing, manufacturing, selling, displaying, transferring, delivering, packaging, processing, cultivating, or harvesting marijuana or marijuana products will be legal only in political subdivisions that affirmatively vote to allow such activities.”

Giving municipalities the option to “opt-out” is nothing new. It’s how we ended up with “dry counties” following the repeal of alcohol prohibition.  Nothing new under the sun when it comes to “knee-jerk” politics.

“This bill requires the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, within the Department of Public Safety, to adopt, prior to July 1, 2023, rules and regulations that set out the procedures for the issuance, renewal, suspension, and revocation of a license to operate a marijuana establishment.”

“This bill creates a tax to be levied upon the sale or transfer of marijuana at a rate of 10%.”

As we have already seen with the previous bill, Representative Price is beating the same drums. Handing over Cannabis to the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and imposing a 10% excise tax openly demonstrates that he, like Representative Merideth has little understanding of the difference between carcinogens and nutraceuticals.
If either of you are reading this, please feel free to email me and I’ll be happy to furnish you with the proper definitions and examples.

“This bill does not require an employer to permit or accommodate the use of marijuana in the workplace or allow driving under the influence of marijuana. The bill does not prevent a school, hospital, detention facility or any other entity from prohibiting or regulating the possession and use of marijuana on its property.”

Copied almost verbatim. I guess this prohibitionist double-talk is now generic. No protection for the Cannabis patient in the workplace and an unrealistic give away to law enforcement when it comes to driving.
Common freedoms are so easily given away without a second thought. 
    

“If a person was convicted of an offense involving marijuana, that person’s records shall automatically expunge the record for the offense.”

Clearing the records of those convicted of “an offense involving marijuana” is admirable. But do you see how puzzling it is in the midst of it all?

* * * * * * *

HB408    Aldridge, Rasheen

“1285H.01I – Requires the court to expunge certain marijuana offenses.”

“HB408—EXPUNGEMENT SPONSOR: Aldridge This bill specifies that if a person has been or is convicted of the offense of possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana such conviction shall be expunged. This bill is similar to HB1385(2020).”

35 grams or less… Well, no one should ever have to have more than 35 grams. That is, unless they are battling very serious chronic or terminal illness. Or perhaps, they grow their medicine and need a “stockpile” to get them through until next harvest. 

Yes, it’s progress that Representatives are finally beginning to represent their constituents and address concerns like this. But it’s not enough, particularly when the penalties remain quite severe just beyond their possession limits.

* * * * * * *

HB485   Hicks, Ron

“1022H.02C – Adds provisions relating to the placement of a minor in a home in which a person has a medical marijuana card or works in the medical marijuana industry.”

This bill prevents placement of a child in an adoptive, foster, or guardian’s home to be denied or delayed due to use of medical marijuana or working in the industry in any capacity.

This bill is similar to HB1740 (2020) and HB567 (2021).

The following is a summary of the public testimony from the committee hearing. The testimony was based on the introduced version of the bill.

“PROPONENTS: Supporters say that the bill prevents children from being removed from homes due to their prospective parents’ medical conditions. The bill also allows for more stability in children’s lives.”

“Testifying against the bill was Arnie Dienoff, who provided written testimony.”

Testifying against this bill was “Public Advocate” (?) Arnie “Honest-Abe” Dienoff. His testimony consisted of, “ I am opposed to this Bill. The Bill does not provide protections for the children with drug abuse and over-use is taking place.”

Bravo, Representative Hicks!

You know, I have spoken to a number of prohibitionists like “Honest-Abe”. I recall one, a Pastor, who, along with his wife, drove all the way from Tennessee to my home, then in Colorado Springs, to hear about Cannabis cancer therapies. He sat in my living-room, hardly making eye contact. Then he said, “You know, I used to tell everyone that marijuana was of the Devil. I told everyone that it destroys lives. I didn’t know. I didn’t know that a day would come when it might save my child’s life.”

He was one of several Pastors that I came to know through the years that had a Cannabis epiphany. We MUST press through the cognitive dissidence. Hopefully, one day, Representative Arnie Dienoff will have one, too.    

Bills like this one are essential. We must protect are little ones, their parents and caregivers.  

* * * * * * *

HB486    Hicks, Ron

“1033H.01I – Requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to establish a statewide medical marijuana lodging establishment licensing system.”

“HB486—MEDICAL MARIJUANA LODGING ESTABLISHMENTS SPONSOR: Hicks This bill establishes the “Reduction of Illegal Public Consumption by Allowing for the Compassionate Access to Medical Marijuana Act”. The bill requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to establish a state wide medical marijuana lodging establishment system to license hotels, AirBNBs, or other lodging establishments that wish to allow medical marijuana patients to consume medical marijuana with in the establishment.”

Another EXCELLENT bill from Representative Ron Hicks!

This bill is absolutely important. Many living in Missouri cannot legally consume their “legal” Cannabis in their homes because they rent and current Missouri law allows landlords to evict renters who consume Cannabis. They can’t consume in their cars for fear of a DUI.  Where else can they go without breaking the law??

* * * * * * *

HB546    Hicks, Ron

1389H.01I – Allows certain marijuana-related offenses and violations to be expunged if the offenses or violations occurred in Missouri prior to the issuance of a patient identification card

“This bill provides tiers of dates by which a person who has been convicted of a marijuana possession offense or municipal violation in Missouri prior to August 28,2021,

Creating an organized way to expunge records is a good step.  There’s not much clarity regarding the offenses that would be “expunged”.

“If a person was convicted of a marijuana possession offense or municipal violation prior to August 28,2021, but obtains a patient identification card after August 28,2021, he or she may be eligible to have the offense or violation expunged by petitioning the court in which he or she was convicted…”

So the jist of this is a person must demonstrate that he or she is a medical patient by first obtaining a “patient identification card. This does not guarantee that the new “patient” will actually get their record “expunged”. That will only come after “petitioning the court in which he or she was convicted”.

Well, it started out good.  It seems a judge will still be the one to determine whether or not a record would be expunged, and that only after great effort on the part of the person seeking vindication.

This is a far cry from my “amnesty” line in “Cannabis Restoration”. It REALLY doesn’t have to be this hard.

* * * * * * * *

HB702    Merideth, Peter

“1670H.01I – Creates provisions relating to the caps on the number of licenses granted to medical marijuana facilities”

“…the Department of Health and Senior Services will issue a license to any applicant who meets the minimum standards for the license for which the applicant applies.”

This is a good move. If only this had been implemented from day one.

“The Department may deny a license to an applicant who meets minimum standards for the license for which the applicant applies in order to comply with the limits on the number of licenses issued to entities under substantially common control, ownership, or management established in the Constitution of Missouri.”

This seems like the right thing to do, though I would like to see how it is carried out.  I have yet to see ANY state or community successfully oppose the big chains in the industry without somehow violating free trade.

* * * * * * *

HB877    Christofanelli, Phil

“1947H.01I – Authorizes an income tax deduction for certain taxpayers engaged in the medical marijuana industry in this state.”

“HB877—INCOME TAX DEDUCTIONS SPONSOR: Christofanelli This bill provides that taxpayers authorized to conduct business under the medical cannabis provisions of the Constitution of Missouri may deduct the amount that would have been deducted from the computation of the tax payer’s federal taxable income if such a deduction were not disallowed…”

This is another good one!

A direct opposition to Federal law.  I like it.  Cannabis businesses deserve the same rights as any other commercial establishment.

* * * * * * *

HB1017    DeGroot, Bruce

2538H.01I – Authorizes a tax credit for businesses owned by minorities, women, or service-disabled veterans who obtain a medical marijuana dispensary license

This one was very confusing in the way that it was written. Such is the case with MANY House and Senate bills that I have read.

Basically, this bill provides a tax credit to medical Cannabis dispensaries that are owned by

“ (a) Minority business enterprise;”

“(b) Service-disabled veteran business; or

“(c) Women’s business enterprise; …in an amount equal to three thousand dollars in tax year 2022, with such amount annually adjusted for inflation in subsequent years. “

* * * * * * *

HJR30    Dogan, Shamed

1240H.01I – Proposes a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for adult use

Yet again, here is that same tired old, poorly written rhetoric. The age limit on Cannabis was derived from incorrectly comparing Cannabis to alcohol. They both can generate euphoria. But the processes that create the euphoria are very different.  Alcohol destroys the liver and pickles brain cells. Cannabis nurtures and protects the brain. Cannabis is a widely known “neuro-protector”.  Cannabis brings healing for those suffering very serious illnesses. Alcohol is a toxin. Cannabis is nontoxic.

“… driving, flying, or boating while impaired by cannabis remains illegal.

As I have so many times stated, there is no accurate way to clinically determine Cannabis impairment.  Instead of making the use of Cannabis illegal, why not just make  vehicular crimes, like speeding and reckless endangerment the focus? Seems to me, that would be far more just. Here comes the scary part. It states that,

“This bill establishes the “Smarter and Safer Missouri Act” which requires that marijuana be removed from the list of controlled substances;”

Now, don’t misunderstand me. Removing Cannabis from the state’s Controlled Substance List is the Holy Grail for people like me. This is what ALL Cannabis activists have wanted from day one. It would mean that Cannabis would return to being a food. A very nutritious food.    

“…however this does not give any person the right to smoke marijuana in a public place or open space, prohibit state or political subdivisions from prohibiting or regulating conduct otherwise allowed by this section when such conduct occurs on property of the state or political subdivisions or require a person to violate federal law.”

So Cannabis would be legal everywhere, BUT, “state or political subdivisions”. And, since Cannabis is still illegal by “federal law”, once again, arrest is up to law enforcement. Literally.

“It shall be lawful to possess, consume, cultivate, harvest, process, manufacture, package, distribute, transfer, display, or possess marijuana, marijuana accessories, or marijuana products for commercial purposes, provided the person has current applicable licensing to operate a commercial establishment with no other special licensing required. Marijuana farmers, manufacturers, processors, and distributors shall not be subject to any special zoning requirement or licensing fee more restrictive than that which is relative to any other commercial or agricultural farmer, manufacturer, processor, or distributor. Law enforcement and its courts shall protect marijuana users and their property without discrimination. No personnel or state funds shall be used to assist or aid in enforcement of federal marijuana laws which are no longer illegal in this state.

Hard for me to refute lines that were copied straight from my initiative, “Cannabis Restoration”.  

All persons incarcerated for nonviolent, marijuana-only offenses that are no longer illegal shall be immediately released and not subject to supervision for those offenses. Within 60 days of the passage of this section, a legal document shall be developed and made available to the public ordering the immediate destruction of all marijuana-related, nonviolent civil and criminal records in…”

This line, as well, was plagiarized straight from my initiative, “Cannabis Restoration”.  It never ceases to amaze me how profiteers will “cherry pick” just what they think would sway the “adult users” and omit the parts that truly benefit the citizenry of the state.

“A tax shall be levied on the suggested retail sale price of marijuana at a rate of 12% for personal use and 4%for medical use. Moneys collected shall be distributed to the “Smarter and Safer Missouri Fund” which is created in this bill, and distributed to the Missouri Veterans Commission, the Missouri Department of Transportation, and to the expansion of broadband and drug treatment programs, including drug treatment courts.”

Could someone please tell me what, “…the Missouri Veterans Commission, the Missouri Department of Transportation, and the expansion of broadband and drug treatment programs, including drug treatment courts” has to do with Cannabis?  
This, again, is a ploy, a bribe. It’s an attempt to garner vocal support from each of the agencies at the expense of the Cannabis consumer.

“Article XIV Section 1 of the Missouri Constitution relating to the right to access medical marijuana is removed.

We should scrutinize any and all filings of Representative Shamed Dogan and give carefull attention to those who are apparently influencing him. It is quite obvious from this bill that he most certainly does NOT have the best interests of his constituents at heart.  

* * * * * * *

Senate Bills  

SB190    Creates provisions relating to expungement for certain marijuana offenses

“…if a person has been convicted after December 31, 1997, and before August 28, 2021, of the offense of possession of marijuana in an amount of thirty-five grams or less, the court has an affirmative duty to expunge such conviction from all official records.2.Notwithstanding any provision of law, beginning August 28, 2021, any person convicted of the offense of possession of marijuana in an amount of thirty-five grams or less shall have such conviction expunged. All official records to be expunged by the court under this subsection shall occur the day the person is convicted.”

Here’s another limp attempt at an “amnesty clause”. 

I’m curious just why the author chose to NOT include convictions prior to “December 31, 1997”. If someone were serving a Life sentence for Cannabis possession and had been convicted prior to this date, they would be excluded. Seems to me that the author of this bill had some reservations about amnesty for Cannabis consumers.

Cannabis patients and cultivators beware! It’s apparent that both Missouri’s House and Senate are hung up on “thirty-five grams or less”. If you are in the habit of “stockpiling” because you took advantage of some good sales at your local dispensary or you cultivate and are hoping to make it to next harvest, YOU are at risk, without recourse if and when you end up in court. 

* * * * * * *

SB321    Modifies provisions relating to the offense of possession of controlled substances

“section 579.015, to read as follows: A person commits the offense of possession of a controlled substance… except thirty-five grams or less of marijuana any synthetic cannabinoid… is a class D felony.”

There’s that “thirty-five grams” limit, again.  So, ANY “controlled substance” INCLUDING more than thirty-five grams of Cannabis or any synthetic Cannabinoid is a class D felony.

“The offense of possession of (more than ten grams but thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid) any controlled substance other than flunitrazepam or not more than ten grams of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class A misdemeanor. The offense of possession of not more than ten grams of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class D misdemeanor.”

This is where this twisted bill gets dicey. If the previous line sounds like it’s contradicting itself…well, it is.  State law makers apparently cannot afford to hire proofreaders.

“Prior findings of guilt shall be pleaded and proven in the same manner as required by section 558.021.].In any complaint, information, or indictment, and in any action or proceeding brought for the enforcement of any provision of this chapter or chapter 195, it shall not be necessary to include any exception, excuse, proviso, or exemption contained in this chapter or chapter 195, and the burden of proof of any such exception, excuse, proviso or exemption shall be upon the defendant.”

Yeah. You read that right.

“the burden of proof of any such exception, excuse, proviso or exemption shall be upon the defendant.”

* * * * * * *

SB357    Modifies provisions relating to medical marijuana program participants in family court matters

“The status and conduct of a qualified patient who acts in accordance with Article XIV of the Constitution of Missouri shall not, by itself, be used to restrict or abridge custodial or parental rights to minor children in any action or proceeding under the jurisdiction of a family court under this chapter or a juvenile court under chapter 211.”

This is VERY needful legislation. We must do all we can to protect children and the family unit.

* * * * * * *

SB436    Authorizes an income tax deduction for certain expenses related to operating a medical marijuana business

“The Missouri adjusted gross income of a resident individual shall be the taxpayer’s federal adjusted gross income subject to the modifications in this section.”

A very difficult read. Obviously written by an accountant.

This bill appears to provide a tax deduction for new dispensaries, “

for the tax year beginning on or after January 1, 2020, and ending on or before December 31, 2020, and deducted from Missouri adjusted gross income pursuant to section 143.171.”

* * * * * * *

SB509    Modifies provisions relating to the expungement of records  This bill is virtually identical to HB546.

. . . . . . . .

Like I said, it’s a mixed bag. Some good stuff, some bad, with a whole lot of questionable stuff in between. Truly, some of the most ridiculous rhetoric can be found in House and Senate bills.  Consequently, it’s important that we remain diligent, knowing full well that Jefferson City is not the “…more perfect union” that our fore fathers spoke about.

Cannabis is nontoxic. Cannabis is food. Cannabis is the single most important medicine of the 21st century.

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