Can the Police Still Arrest You for Marijuana in Missouri?
Recreational marijuana became legal for adults in Missouri in 2022, but its use and sale is still regulated by law, and if you violate one of these laws in or near the St. Louis area, you will need the advice and services of a Jefferson County skilled drug offenses attorney – as quickly as possible.
What laws now regulate the consumption and sale of cannabis in Missouri? Who may legally sell and cultivate marijuana in this state? In what circumstances will you need to contact a Jefferson County marijuana attorney for help? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions.
What Are Missouri’s Laws for Using and Possessing Marijuana?
With the passage of Amendment 3 by Missouri voters in 2022, recreational marijuana is now legal in the State of Missouri for those who are 21 years old and older. Adults in Missouri may now possess no more than three ounces of cannabis for recreational consumption.
With a $100 application fee, you can also apply for a license to grow your own. You must be 21 or older to be eligible for a license, and you may not grow more than eighteen marijuana plants in an area of your property that must be locked, secured, and not visible to the general public.
However, only dispensaries will be licensed to sell cannabis and cannabis products in Missouri. Selling marijuana to a minor remains a felony in this state, and any sale or purchase of marijuana outside of the state-regulated dispensary system remains against the law.
How Did Recreational Marijuana Become Legal in Missouri?
In May 2014, Missouri reduced the penalties for some marijuana offenses and eliminated jail time as a potential penalty for the first-time possession of up to ten grams of marijuana. In 2018, Missouri voters approved Amendment 2, legalizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
In 2022, the passage of Amendment 3 made Missouri the twenty-first state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults. Fifty-three percent of the state’s voters approved the measure.
Along with legalizing recreational marijuana use and cultivation for adults in Missouri, Amendment 3:
- imposes a six percent sales tax on recreational marijuana sold by licensed dispensaries
- gives cities and municipalities the option to impose an additional three percent sales tax
Where Can You Smoke Marijuana?
Amendment 3 allows adults to smoke marijuana inside private residences, but it remains against the law to smoke marijuana in Missouri’s parks or on sidewalks, in moving vehicles, or on the grounds of a private or public school.
In general, it is against the law in Missouri to smoke marijuana anywhere “in public.” Tenants who rent their residences may smoke marijuana on the premises only with the consent of the landlord.
What if You Have a Marijuana Conviction on Your Record?
Anyone who has previously been convicted of a nonviolent possession of marijuana charge in Missouri which involved less than three pounds of marijuana, and who is not currently serving time in a Missouri jail or prison, will have his or her record reviewed, and the marijuana possession conviction will probably be expunged before June 8, 2023.
However, a Missouri judge may prevent an expungement for what Amendment 3 calls good cause. Critics of the amendment have expressed concerns that “good cause” is not well-defined and that judges could abuse their power to prevent the expungements of marijuana records.
Expunging a criminal record in this state makes that record no longer available to the public, and in most cases, an expunged record does not have to be disclosed to prospective employers or landlords. An expunged criminal record in Missouri may be unsealed only with a court order.
What if You Are Now Serving Time for a Marijuana Conviction?
If you are currently serving a sentence in a Missouri jail or prison for a marijuana conviction, the charge against you and the conviction won’t be automatically dismissed or expunged as a result of Amendment 3’s passage. You will have to ask an attorney to petition the court on your behalf.
However, if you are serving time in jail or prison, or if you are on parole or probation, and you have been convicted of a nonviolent, marijuana-related criminal charge, your lawyer may petition the court for your release (or for your removal from parole or probation) and to have your conviction record expunged.
Contact a Jefferson County marijuana lawyer – do it as quickly as you can if you are currently in a Missouri jail or prison – and ask that attorney to help you with the legal paperwork and guide you through the expungement process.
How Will Legalization Affect Drug Testing and Employment?
There is nothing in Missouri law that prevents an employer from prohibiting recreational cannabis or requiring employees to take drug tests to detect cannabis consumption. But what if you are already using marijuana for medical reasons, and you have a doctor’s prescription for it?
Employers in Missouri may not discipline or terminate an employee and may not refuse to hire a potential employee based solely on that person’s status as a medical marijuana patient or because that person consumes doctor-prescribed marijuana for medical reasons outside of the workplace.
However, these protections do not extend to recreational cannabis users. Even if an employee is a medical marijuana patient, an employer may discipline or terminate an employee who is under the influence at the jobsite or during working hours in violation of the employer’s policy.
What Else Should You Know About Marijuana in Missouri?
Although recreational marijuana is now legal – with certain restrictions – for adults in Missouri, those who consume and sell marijuana should clearly understand that Missouri’s law enforcement officers will be aggressively enforcing the current marijuana laws and regulations.
The unlicensed sale, cultivation, or trafficking of marijuana remains illegal in Missouri, and if large amounts of marijuana are involved, a conviction will be harshly penalized. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and transporting it across a state line is a federal offense.
If you are charged with a marijuana or marijuana-related crime – in St. Louis or anywhere else in Missouri – you must take that charge seriously. You will need to be advised and defended by a Jefferson County marijuana attorney, and you should contact that attorney immediately.
Finally, if you need to have an old marijuana conviction expunged – or a more recent conviction expunged – you should also contact a Missouri marijuana lawyer as quickly as possible for the legal assistance you need.