Learn 8 Missouri cannabis laws that every dispensary owner and operator should know. This easy-to-read post outlines the law, and puts it in simple terms so you keep your dispensary compliant. Transporting medical marijuana seeds into Missouri is illegal, but the first licensed growers have to start somewhere. The unofficial 'Immaculate Conception' policy turns a blind eye on how marijuana will be grown for the first year. Exploring the cannabis seed paradox: cultivators must break the law in order to obtain seeds to grow legal cannabis. Can this issue be fixed?
8 Missouri Cannabis Laws You Must Know
Ever since dispensary licenses were awarded to Missouri applicants in January 2020, the competition has been intense. Out of the 1,200 applicants, only 192 dispensary licenses were awarded.
If you want to succeed as a dispensary owner in Missouri, the first step is understanding and adhering to the state’s extensive medical marijuana regulations.
In this post, we’ll simplify 8 Missouri marijuana laws you need to know to run a compliant dispensary.
Missouri Cannabis Laws At a Glance
Missouri has legalized medical marijuana only. Recreational use of cannabis is not legal.
Licensed dispensaries can sell marijuana and marijuana-infused products, including flower, concentrates, and edibles to licensed patients and may sell plants, seeds, and clones to qualifying patients who are authorized to cultivate medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana is subject to a specific 4% state tax in addition to any sales taxes.
The regulatory body for Missouri’s medical marijuana industry is the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).
Persons under the age of 18 can receive a medical marijuana license through a primary caregiver with the consent of a parent or legal guardian who will act as the primary caregiver.
Medical marijuana patients can purchase a maximum of 4oz of flower or its equivalent per 30-day period.
Dispensaries must use state-approved seed-to-sale tracking software to manage inventory and report sales to Metrc.
All parts of the supply chain are licensed, including cultivators, testing labs, manufacturing facilities, transporters, and dispensaries.
Law #1: Managing inventory
Law: (G) All cultivation, infused products manufacturing, dispensary, testing, and transportation facilities shall implement inventory control systems and procedures as follows: 1. Each facility shall designate in writing a facility agent who is generally responsible for the inventory control systems and procedures for that facility; 2. All weighing and measuring of medical marijuana required by this rule must be conducted with a National Type Evaluation Program approved scale, which shall be capable of weighing and measuring accurately at all times and recalibrated at least yearly; 3. Each facility shall use a department-certified seed-to-sale tracking system to track medical marijuana from seed or immature plant stage until the medical marijuana is purchased by a qualifying patient or primary caregiver or destroyed. Records entered into the seed-to-sale tracking system must include each day’s beginning inventory, harvests, acquisitions, sales, disbursements, remediations, disposals, transfers, ending inventory, and any other data necessary for inventory control records in the statewide track and trace system;
5. Each dispensary facility shall be responsible for ensuring that every amount of medical marijuana sold or disbursed to a qualifying patient or primary caregiver is recorded in the seed-to-sale tracking system as a purchase by or on behalf of the applicable qualifying patient.
Explained: Here are the basics of compliantly managing inventory:
You must designate someone at your dispensary to oversee inventory.
Final oversight and auditing powers go to the Missouri DHSS.
Dispensaries must use a National Type Evaluation Program approved scale, to be calibrated at least annually.
Tracking of inventory, from seed to sale, must happen within a state-approved software. You must also make sure that every amount of medical marijuana disbursed (or sold) to licensed patients is recorded. See the list of approved seed-to-sale software vendors here.
Missouri uses Metrc as its track-and-trace system. Dispensaries are required to push every check in and transaction to Metrc in real time.
Law #2: Dispensary licensing
Law: (1) Access to Dispensary Facility Licenses. (A) The number of dispensary facility licenses will be limited to one hundred ninety-two (192) unless the department determines the limit must be increased in order to meet the demand for medical marijuana by qualifying patients. (B) Dispensary facility licenses will be limited to twenty-four (24) in each of the eight (8) United States congressional districts in the state of Missouri as drawn and in effect on December 6, 2018. (C) A facility license will be issued for a single facility in a single location.
4. If a facility is granted a license or certification but has not passed a commencement inspection within one (1) year of the department issuing the license or certification, the license or certification may be revoked.
(G) Cultivation, infused product manufacturing, and dispensary licenses and testing and transportation certifications are valid for three (3) years from the date the license or certification is issued and shall, except for good cause, be renewable by submitting, prior to expiration by at least one hundred fifty (150) days but no sooner than two hundred fifty (250) days, an updated application. (H) The department shall charge an application or renewal fee for a facility license or certification and also an annual fee once a license or certification is granted.
Explained: Any facility cultivating, manufacturing, selling, transporting, testing, or otherwise working with medical marijuana must be licensed.
An important note is that the regulations specify awarding only 192 dispensary licenses in Missouri. This means all the available licenses have been awarded.
Here’s the process of applying for a dispensary license in Missouri:
- A $6,000 non-refundable fee is required to apply for a dispensary license up until 12/26/2021, after that date, it will be $3,000.
- Dispensaries must pay a $10,373.22 annual fee for their dispensary license. The Missouri DHSS is responsible for reviewing and approving dispensary licenses.
- “Any entity under substantially common control, ownership, or management” can be issued up to 5 dispensary licenses, 3 cultivation licenses, or 3 manufacturing licenses.
Basic facility license applicant requirements:
- Proof of Missouri residency for at least 1 year.
- Entities must be majority-owned by natural persons who’ve been citizens of Missouri for at least 1 year and don’t claim residency in any other state or country.*
- Facilities can’t be owned by or employ those with disqualifying felony offenses.
- All principal officers, owners, and managers must undergo a criminal background check by the Missouri State Highway Patrol within 6 months of applying
*This requirement is currently barred from being enforced under a preliminary injunction in Togio v. DHSS.
Definition to know: “Majority owned” means more than 50% of the economic interests and more than 50% of the voting interests of an entity.
This law also outlines details of note for current license-holders:
- You must pass your commencement inspection within 1 year of being issued the license, or your license may be revoked.
- Your license is valid for 3 years from the date it was issued. You will need to renew by submitting an updated application between 150-250 days prior to expiration. Renewal fees will apply.
Note: Licensed Facilities can’t be located within 1,000 feet of any elementary or secondary school, daycare, or church. The measurement is the shortest path between the two locations as lawfully traveled by foot. Local rules and regulations can allow for this distance to be smaller than 1000 feet.
How to Open a Dispensary in Missouri
Law #3: Penalties and fines
Law: (5) The department will impose penalties as follows: (A) For possessing marijuana in amounts between the possessor’s legal limit and twice the possessor’s legal limit, in addition to revocation of identification card(s) pursuant to 19 CSR 30-95.030(3)(B)1.D., the possessor will incur a penalty of two hundred dollars ($200); (B) For failure to package medical marijuana consistent with 19 CSR 30- 95.040(4)(K), a facility will incur a penalty of five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each category of improperly packaged product, and the improperly packaged medical marijuana will be recalled for repackaging or disposal, at the department’s discretion; and (C) Any person or facility that extracts resins from marijuana using combustible gases or other dangerous materials without a manufacturing facility license, shall incur a penalty.
1. In addition to revocation of identification cards pursuant to 19 CSR 30- 95.030(3)(B)1.I., any patients or primary caregivers who extract resins in this manner will incur a penalty of one thousand dollars ($1000).
2. In addition to suspension of license, pursuant to 19 CSR 30-95.040(1)(F)7., facilities that extract resins in this manner will incur a penalty of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Explained: Simply put, Missouri regulations prohibit the following:
- A patient’s med card will be revoked and they will be fined $200 if they are caught with between 4-8 oz of marijuana.
- There’s a $5,000 fine for improperly packaged products, and the products could be recalled for repacking or disposal.
- If a patient is caught extracting resins without an MIP license, they’ll be fined $1,000 and their med card will be revoked.
- Licensed Facilities that do not possess a MIP license will be fined $10,000 for extracting resins from marijuana using combustible gases or other dangerous materials.
- Possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana or synthetic marijuana by a non-patient is punishable by a $500 fine, however, prior offenders of controlled substance laws may face higher fines and possible jail time.
Law #4: Purchase and possession limits
Law: (5) Purchase and Possession Limitations. (A) Qualifying patients may only purchase, or have purchased on their behalf by their primary caregivers, four (4) ounces of dried, unprocessed marijuana per qualifying patient, or its equivalent, in a thirty- (30-)day period. (B) Qualifying patients may only possess, or instruct a primary caregiver to possess on their behalf— 1. In the case of qualifying patients who do not cultivate or have medical marijuana cultivated on their behalf, up to a sixty- (60-) day supply of dried, unprocessed marijuana per qualifying patient, or its equivalent; or 2. In the case of qualifying patients who are cultivating marijuana for medical use or whose primary caregivers are cultivating marijuana on their behalf, up to a ninety- (90-) day supply of dried, unprocessed marijuana or its equivalent, so long as the supply of medical marijuana cultivated by the qualifying patients or primary caregivers remains on property under their control. (C) All medical marijuana purchased from a dispensary must be stored in or with its original packaging. (D) Primary caregivers may possess a separate legal limit for each qualifying patient under their care and a separate legal limit for themselves if they are a qualifying patient, each of which shall be stored separately for each qualifying patient and labeled with the qualifying patient’s name. (E) Purchase and possession limits established in this section shall not apply to a qualifying patient with written certification from two (2) independent physicians that there are compelling reasons why the qualifying patient needs a greater amount than the limits established in this section.
Explained: Qualifying patients and primary caregivers may purchase medical marijuana and medical marijuana-infused products. Qualifying patients who are authorized to cultivate medical marijuana may also purchase plants, seeds, and clones.
Equivalence ratios: 1 oz dried, unprocessed marijuana = 8 g concentrate = 800 mg THC-infused products
Other points of note:
Patients can exceed the purchase limits if they receive approval from two physicians.
Patients can’t purchase seeds or clones if they aren’t “authorized to cultivate.”
Medical patients can have in their possession:
Up to 6 flowering marijuana plants
Up to a 90-day supply (12 ounces or 339 grams) of dried, unprocessed marijuana or equivalent if cultivating
Up to a 60-day supply (8 ounces or 226 grams) of unprocessed marijuana or equivalent if not cultivating.
Law #5: Patients and caregivers
Law: (2) Identification Card Applications. Qualifying patients and primary caregivers shall obtain identification cards from the department, which will include unique, identifying numbers for each patient and each caregiver-patient relationship. A qualifying patient or his or her primary caregivers may also obtain an identification card to cultivate up to six (6) flowering marijuana plants for the exclusive use of that qualifying patient. The department will receive applications for qualifying patients, primary caregivers, and patient cultivation electronically through a department-provided, web-based application system. (A) All applications for qualifying patient identification cards and renewal of such identification cards shall include at least the following information: 1. The qualifying patient’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number; 2. The qualifying patient’s residence address and mailing address or, if the qualifying patient has no residence or mailing address, an address where the qualifying patient can receive mail; 3. A statement that the qualifying patient resides in Missouri and does not claim resident privileges in another state or country, as well as proof of current Missouri residency, which shall be shown by— A. A copy of a valid Missouri driver’s license, a Missouri Identification Card, a current Missouri motor vehicle registration, or a recent Missouri utility bill; or B. If none of these proofs are avail- able, some other evidence of residence in Missouri, which shall be approved or denied by the director of the medical marijuana program as sufficient proof of residency; 4. The qualifying patient’s e-mail address; 5. A statement confirming that— A. One (1) physician certification, which is less than thirty (30) days old, has been submitted on behalf of the qualifying patient; or B. Two (2) physician certifications, which are less than thirty (30) days old, have been submitted on behalf of the qualifying patient in order to authorize possession limits other than those established by section (5) of this rule; 6. A legible copy of the qualifying patient’s photo identification issued by a state or federal government entity; 7. If the qualifying patient is a non-emancipated qualifying patient, the name, Social Security number, and a Parental/Legal Guardian Consent Form, included herein, completed by a parent or legal guardian who will serve as primary caregiver for the qualifying patient; 8. A clear, color photo of the applicant’s face taken within the prior three (3) months; 9. At the option of the applicant, a statement indicating whether the applicant is currently receiving assistance from any Missouri programs for low-income individuals, and if so, which programs; 10. If the patient is seeking authority to cultivate medical marijuana— A. The address of the facility in which the qualifying patient will cultivate marijuana; B. A description of the security arrangements and processes that will be used to restrict access to only qualifying patients and their primary caregivers; C. The name and Patient License Number or Caregiver License Number, if applicable, of one (1) other qualifying patient. 11. An attestation that the information provided in the application is true and correct; 12. The signature of the qualifying patient and date the qualifying patient signed, or, in the case of a non-emancipated qualifying patient, the signature of the parent or legal guardian who will serve as primary caregiver for the qualifying patient and the date the parent or legal guardian signed; and 13. All applicable fees.
One (1) qualifying patient may cultivate up to six (6) flowering marijuana plants, six (6) nonflowering marijuana plants (over fourteen (14) inches tall), and six (6) clones (plants under fourteen (14) inches tall) at any given time in a single, enclosed locked facility.
Explained: Patients over the age of 18 or primary caregivers, or patients under 18 who have an ID issued by the Missouri DHSS, can purchase medical marijuana.
Patients and caregivers must apply via the DHSS within 30 days of physician certification.
Patient or primary caregiver ID cards cost $25 and are valid for 1 year.
Qualifying conditions for receiving a medical marijuana license:
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
Human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
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
A chronic medical condition that is normally treated with a prescription medication 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
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
In the professional judgment of a physician, any other chronic, debilitating or other medical condition, including, but not limited to, hepatitis C
Patients who wish to cultivate marijuana plants must apply for and receive a qualifying patient cultivation identification card. The cultivation card allows them to grow the following at any given time in a single, enclosed, locked facility
- 6 flowering plants
- 6 non-flowering plants (over 14 inches tall), and
- 6 clones (plants under 14 inches tall)
Law #6: Delivery
Law: (C) Dispensary facilities must, for every transaction— 1. Receive the transaction order at the dispensary directly from the qualifying patient or primary caregiver in person, by phone, or via the internet, and not from a third party; 2. At the time of sale, verify through the statewide track and trace system that the qualifying patient or primary caregiver is currently authorized to purchase the amount of medical marijuana requested and, in the case of a seed purchase, that the patient or primary caregiver is currently authorized to cultivate medical marijuana; 3. In the case of a delivery order, receive payment before the medical marijuana leaves the dispensary, subject to refund if the delivery cannot be completed; and 4. At the time of sale or delivery, require production of a qualifying patient or primary caregiver identification card, a government-issued photo ID, and in the case of medical marijuana seed purchases, a patient cultivation identification card;
Explained: Missouri cannabis law states dispensaries can use the Pizza Truck Model to deliver cannabis, as long as they adhere to these stipulations:
Payment must be received before cannabis leaves the store.
The vehicles have to be secure (some retailers hire transporters for delivery transactions).
You need manifests to have cannabis in a vehicle.
A secure lockbox or locking cargo area for storing marijuana during transit.
A secure lockbox for storing payments and video monitoring recording equipment.
Video monitoring of the driver and passenger compartment of the vehicle as well as any space where medical marijuana is stored.
Law #7: Packaging and labels
Law: (K) All cultivation, infused products manufacturing, and dispensary facilities shall ensure that all medical marijuana is packaged and labeled in a manner consistent with the following: 1. Facilities shall not manufacture, package, or label marijuana— A. In a false or misleading manner; B. In any manner designed to cause confusion between a marijuana product and any product not containing marijuana; or C. In any manner designed to appeal to a minor;
2. Marijuana and marijuana-infused products shall be sold in containers clearly and conspicuously labeled with: A. “Marijuana” or a “Marijuana-infused Product” in a font size at least as large as the largest other font size used on the package; and B. “Warning: Cognitive and physical impairment may result from the use of Marijuana” in a font no smaller than seven- (7-) point type;
3. Any marijuana or marijuana-infused products packaged for retail sale before delivery to a dispensary must be packaged in opaque, re-sealable packaging designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five (5) years of age to open but not normally difficult for adults to use properly. Any marijuana or marijuana-infused products not packaged for retail sale before delivery to a dispensary must be packaged by the dispensary upon sale to a qualifying patient or primary caregiver in opaque, re-sealable packaging designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five (5) years of age to open but not normally difficult for adults to use properly. All edible marijuana-infused products must be packaged for retail by the infused-products manufacturer before transfer to a dispensary;
4. Marijuana and marijuana-infused products shall bear a label displaying the following information, in the following order: A. The total weight of the marijuana included in the package: (I) For dried, unprocessed marijuana, weight shall be listed in ounces or grams; (II) For concentrates, weight shall be listed in grams; or (III) For infused products, weight shall be listed by milligrams of THC; B. Dosage amounts, instructions for use, and estimated length of time the dosage will have an effect; C. The THC, tetrahydrocannabinol acid, cannabidiol, cannabidiol acid, and cannabinol concentration per dosage; D. All active and inactive ingredients, which shall not include groupings of ingredients that obscure the actual ingredients, such as “proprietary blend” or “spices”; E. In the case of dried, unprocessed marijuana, the name, as recorded with the Missouri Secretary of State, of the cultivating facility from which the marijuana in the package originated and, in the case of infused products, the name of the infused-product manufacturer, as recorded with the Missouri Secretary of State; and F. A “best if used by” date;
5. No branding, artwork, or other information or design elements included on marijuana or marijuana-infused products shall be placed in such a way as to obscure any of the information required by this section;
6. Marijuana and marijuana-infused product packaging shall not include claims of health benefits but may include health warnings; and
7. Marijuana and marijuana-infused products must, at all times, be tagged with traceability information generated by the statewide track and trace system.
Explained: Packaging and label requirements look complex, but essentially:
Medical marijuana products must be clearly labeled as “Marijuana” or “Marijuana-infused product” in a font as large as the largest other font size on the packaging.
The warning, “Warning: Cognitive and physical impairment may result from the use of Marijuana” must be included in at least 7-point font.
Packaging cannot be appealing to a minor.
Packaging must be opaque, resealable, and difficult for children under 5 to open.
Packing cannot boast health benefit claims and must list out the required warnings.
Packaging must be tagged with information from the statewide track and trace system.
Labels must include the following:
Total weight of the marijuana in the package. For dried marijuana, listed in ounces or grams. For concentrates, listed in grams. And for infused products, listed by milligrams of THC.
Instructions for use
Estimated length of time of effects
Concentration per dose
All active and inactive ingredients
For dried marijuana, the name of the cultivating facility, or for infused products, the name of the manufacturer.
Best if used by date
Law #8: Track-and-trace systems
Law: (3) Seed-to-Sale Tracking System Requirements. All seed-to-sale tracking systems used by cultivation, manufacturing, dispensary, testing, and transportation facilities shall be capable of— (A) Interfacing with the statewide track and trace system such that a licensed or certificated facility may enter and access information in the statewide track and trace system as required for inventory control and tracking by 19 CSR 30-95.040(4)(G) and for purchase limitations by 19 CSR 30-95.080(2)(C); (B) Providing the department with access to all information stored in the system’s database; (C) Maintaining the confidentiality of all patient data and records accessed or stored by the system such that all persons or entities other than the department may only access the information in the system that they are authorized by law to access; and (D) Producing analytical reports to the department regarding— 1. Total quantity of daily, monthly, and yearly sales at the facility per product type; 2. Average prices of daily, monthly, and yearly sales at the facility per product type; and 3. Total inventory or sales record adjustments at the facility.
(C) Dispensary facilities must, for every transaction— 1. Receive the transaction order at the dispensary directly from the qualifying patient or primary caregiver in person, by phone, or via the internet, and not from a third party; 2. At the time of sale, verify through the statewide track and trace system that the qual- ifying patient or primary caregiver is currently authorized to purchase the amount of medical marijuana requested and, in the case of a seed purchase, that the patient or primary caregiver is currently authorized to cultivate medical marijuana;
Explained: First, you must use Metrc as the state track-and-trace system for Missouri. And second, the software you use to manage inventory in sales in your store — typically your POS — must be state-approved and integrate with Metrc.
License-holders can only use state-certified trace-and-trace software to manage inventory and report sales.
All sales must be reported to Metrc in real time, or immediately as the transaction occurs.
Failure to comply with seed-to-sale tracking requirements by any facility or employee can lead to the facility’s license being revoked.
‘Immaculate Conception’ needed to kickstart medical marijuana industry in Missouri
Transporting medical marijuana seeds into Missouri is illegal, but the first licensed growers have to start somewhere. The unofficial ‘Immaculate Conception’ policy turns a blind eye on how marijuana will be grown for the first year.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The thing about miracles is that no one questions how they happen. That’s the stance the medical marijuana industry and the state of Missouri are taking when it comes to how people are getting the seeds to start growing operations after voters passed Amendment 2 last November.
It’s illegal to transport marijuana seeds into the state and within the state under current law, but growers have to get the seeds for a potentially massive new industry from somewhere.
“It’s Immaculate Conception is what the industry-deemed word is,” Gerry Donovan, who owns Emerald Garden in Kansas City, Missouri, said.
For people like Donovan, who wants to grow and sell medical marijuana in the next few months, the process should be well underway.
“I don’t think anybody’s going to talk about how Jesus was made and, so, with that, after people have their license, then genetics that are within the state are going to be legal,” Donovan said.
Dispensaries will start popping up as the spring of 2020 approaches, so the product has to be ready. How it gets ready remains a legal gray area.
“The way the law is set up in Missouri, after December 31, 2020, you have to buy all your seeds from a licensed dispensary, but it’s totally silent as to how you get your seeds before that time,” Jon Dedon, an attorney who specializes in regulated industries, said.
Medical marijuana is highly regulated and Dedon said the state law makes sense overall, but certain areas remain a little sticky because of existing federal law.
“I guess theoretically, yes, they are setting them (growers) up to break the law, but then, on the other hand, my understanding is the authorities are sort of playing along with it and looking the other way,” Dedon said.
The state’s website does not and will not tell you how or where to get seeds.
“The department cannot advise anyone on where to obtain the means to grow marijuana,” the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said in a statement. “The state does not have a supply. State law does not trump federal policy. Licensed facilities are permitted to transport product in Missouri.”
Buying them from another state where marijuana is legal might still put someone at risk from a legal perspective.
“Most of the clients that are coming to us are sophisticated enough that they know how to get the seeds in,” Dedon said.
Currently, people can have patient cards and grow medical marijuana, but it remains illegal to sell it for now.
Donovan suggested people might be getting their seeds from those people, but he will not comment on where he’ll find his supply.
Missouri is the 33rd state to legalize medical marijuana, so many other states have dealt with a similar issue.
“I suspect, and I’m not speaking for the government, but I suspect the federal government wants this to work,” Dedon said. “They don’t want to cause a big conflict between federal enforcement prerogatives and state medical marijuana programs.”
The state has yet to issue licenses for growing and selling medical marijuana. More than 2,200 businesses applied for a license, but only a small fraction will be accepted.
Copyright 2019 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
The Cannabis Seed Paradox: Breaking The Law To Grow
You’ve seen our physicians at Green Health Docs . You have your certification. You’ve registered with the state and gotten proper authorization to grow medical cannabis at home. But then comes the cannabis seed paradox!
Find out what the cannabis seed paradox is below. And how cultivators get around it. (Hint: they break the law)
The Cannabis Seed Paradox
Once you have your home cultivation authorization, it’s time to start growing medical cannabis . But there’s one small hitch. Where the hell does one get seeds?
Well, here’s the rub. Seeds are illegal. That is, it is illegal under federal law to move cannabis across state lines. This includes full grown plants, clones, seedlings or even seeds themselves. Yup, you read that right. Home cultivators will need to do something illegal in order to grow legal medical cannabis.
Some clinics and cultivation businesses may offer seeds for free, a quick and easy way for patients to bypass this hurdle. But literally thousands of Missouri medical marijuana patients will be stuck searching for places to buy seeds. And regardless of legality, many patients will try to buy or order seeds online in order to get a specific strain that caters to their medical needs.
Selling Seeds is Illegal, Online or in Missouri
Even retailers are walking a thin line when it comes to selling cannabis seeds in Missouri. Proper state authorization is required in order to sell cannabis products, like dry flower, edibles or oils . Products can only be sold to state medical marijuana patients. Seeds will likely not be sold in medical marijuana dispensaries, though that’s a possibility at some point.
Anyone selling seeds outside the medical marijuana arena is likely doing so without legal authorization. This puts their business at risk for penalty or punishment if caught.
Seeds sold online are typically sold in states or countries where cannabis is legal. However, shipping seeds in the mail is a federal crime. If you’ve ever been burned by purchasing seeds online, chances are your seeds were simply confiscated by authorities before making their way to your door.
Seeds online are also a crap-shoot. You may get that award-winning strain, or you may get some messed up hybrid that gives you the jitters. And worse, you won’t know until harvest. Buying online isn’t the best way to get seeds, but sometimes it’s the only option from some cultivators.
Bypassing the Law?
Even large scale cultivators will face the cannabis seed paradox. In order to begin their grows, they must either bring in seeds or clones from another state or country. As cannabis is still illegal under federal law, crossing the border or state lines constitutes of federal felony. Getting caught could result in severe legal punishment, possibly even jail time.
And yet, cultivators grow cannabis in every state with an active marijuana program. That means the law was broken with no real consequence. Seeds, after all, are fairly innocuous and difficult to detect. A pack of seeds could fit into a wallet, or even a small envelope with no trouble whatsoever. Seeds give off little to no smell, and are largely indistinguishable from hemp seeds. It is a crime to move seeds across state lines, but it’s an undetectable crime that doesn’t harm anyone. This is likely why it goes unpunished.
Clones, on the other hand, are far easier to detect. Cannabis has a smell beginning around the first few leaves. The smell is surprisingly dank by this stage. Moving clones across state lines is a much riskier endeavor. Many cultivators will risk it, however, as it greatly speeds up the time to harvest. This means that patients get medical cannabis in their dispensaries much faster.
Legalizing Cannabis Seeds
Even if the federal government decides not to reschedule cannabis, removing it from the list of the most restricted drugs in the country, something must be done about the cannabis seed paradox. This issue affects every single state with a medical marijuana or recreational marijuana program.
Ohio faced this issue when their program launched in 2016. Maryland also faced this paradox a year earlier with their program. And this same paradox struck Michigan, Pennsylvania and Illinois. The list goes on…
Legalizing cannabis seeds and clones for authorized businesses and medical marijuana patients makes sense. It allows the federal government to properly track each sale of cannabis seeds and clones. This gives them a better sense of what is moving where, and when. This could also lead to better tracking of black market cannabis.
And let’s be real. Legalizing cannabis seeds and clones allows safe passage for those seeds and clones, and the employees entrusted with the task of moving them. There are a lot of noble botanists trying their best to bring good quality cannabis to medical marijuana patients. But those heroes are putting a lot on the line when moving seeds across state lines or borders. Legalization would protect them and allow these employees to do their job more efficiently.
Legal Seeds for Patients
Patients with proper home cultivation authorization should also be allowed to purchase and transport seeds or clones across state lines from authorized retailers. Full stop.
Seed and clone tracking, if necessary, could be done through the same database established for tracking medical marijuana purchased in the state at dispensaries. The state could even regulate high potency strains, if such a thing were cause for alarm.
Regardless, a medical marijuana patient deserves the freedom to legally grow their cannabis, and one of those stages is buying the actual plant itself. If a patient is allowed to grow cannabis, they should be allowed to buy cannabis seeds. The whole process should be legal, from seed to medication.
Getting Your Certification
In order to grow cannabis at home, a qualifying patient must first get a certificate to use medical cannabis. You can do so by seeing one of our licensed medical marijuana physicians at Green Health Docs in Missouri . They can help you get certified, and our support team can walk you through the home cultivation application process. To get started, simply call 1-877-242-0362 today! Patients can obtain a card either in-person at our Missouri clinics, or through online.