No Matter the Source, Marijuana Patients Can Possess Weed in Missouri

5:32am PST

Missouri Police Cruiser
Missouri Police Cruiser, Hoosh! © 2020

Missouri Missouri may not have any dispensaries capable of supplying patients with legal medical marijuana, but state health officials support your right to do so — even though that means, by necessity, breaking the law.

The St. Louis County Police Department clarified that its officers will not arrest state-approved patients who've somehow come into possession of marijuana.

“If individuals are in possession of marijuana and possess a valid and legal prescription we will uphold their constitutional rights and they will not be arrested,” writes department spokeswoman Tracy Panus. “We will not arrest individuals based upon the assumption the marijuana was obtained illegally”.

The department's position follows the release of a letter by the state's top marijuana official, who this week weighed-in on the strange legal situation faced by medical marijuana patients in Missouri. On one hand, the first of the state's 192 approved dispensaries are still months away from opening. But as of this month, nearly 30,000 patients are holding medical marijuana identification cards.

Right now, those cards are useless for their stated purpose. The predicament hasn't gone unnoticed. Lyndall Fraker, who serves as the Department of Health and Senior Services' aptly, and very awesomely, titled Director of Medical Marijuana, wrote in a January 28 letter that he had been moved to explain the DHS’s' understanding of the issue.

Fraker's letter started by summarizing how Missouri got into this situation.

Bound by Article XIV of the Missouri Constitution — which was amended in 2018 by the successful ballot initiative that legalized medicinal marijuana — the department was obligated to accept applications. Even without dispensaries, the DHSS followed the schedule laid out in the amendment, and so it went about approving its first marijuana patients this past June.

It's that constitutional obligation which, on paper, gives patients the right to have their own weed.