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Now that personal use of marijuana has been approved in Missouri, what's next?

Amendment 3 watch party
Posted at 11:52 AM, Nov 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-10 18:58:46-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Marijuana for personal use in the state of Missouri was legalized following the 2022 midterm elections.

According to the Amendment 3's text, starting Dec. 8, adults over the age of 21 in Missouri can posses up to three ounces of marijuana. Public consumption of marijuana is prohibited and failure to comply can lead to civil penalties.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) will be in charge of organizing a lottery system and issuing "comprehensive" licenses. It’ll be at least a couple of months until you can buy recreational marijuana at dispensaries, but the amendment states medical shops will be first and will automatically obtain “comprehensive” licenses if companies are in good standing with the state of Missouri.

Personal cultivation of marijuana will be allowed, but people will need to register for it. MDHSS will make public application forms available 30 days after Dec. 8, and is required to accept application for personal cultivation by Feb. 6, 60 days after possession of marijuana becomes legal. A person over the age of 21 can obtain a registration card to cultivate up to six flowering marijuana plants, six nonflowering marijuana plants (over 14 inches tall), and six clones (plants under 14 inches tall) for non-commercial use.

The amendment also allows for the expungement of all marijuana-related misdemeanor offenses and certain felony charges. Circuit Courts will automatically issue expungement orders six months to a year after the amendment goes into effect. According to the Missouri Judiciary's FY2024 Budget request, they estimate it would cost $7 million dollars in the 2023 and 2024 fiscal years, and to implement expungement procedures related to Amendment 3. A 6% sales tax will be issued on non-medical marijuana products.

KSHB-TV reached out the Missouri Department of Corrections, they said the following:

The passage of Amendment Three would have minimal effect on the incarcerated population. We frequently hear rhetoric about the potential for marijuana decriminalization to significantly reduce incarceration rates, but that simply isn't the case. There are very few people in state prisons whose most serious crime is marijuana-related. Most people convicted of marijuana-related charges are sentenced to probation and enter the prison system only if they fail to comply with the terms of their supervision.

Kansas City decriminalized marijuana in 2020. The Kansas City Missouri Municipal Court currently has 615 open marijuana cases filed prior to July 8, 2020. Of those, 557 have no disposition. The rest are cases where the defendant was found guilty but is on probation, needs to complete community service or owes a fine.

"It is our understanding that all of those cases would have to be dismissed, closed and expunged if this law passes but we will have to wait on guidance from the Missouri Supreme Court and the Office of the State Courts Administrator on exactly how to proceed," said Benita Jones, public information officer/for the KC Municipal Division. "We also would have to run additional reports to determine the number of older closed marijuana cases where the person was found guilty."