New marijuana legislation will be enacted in 2020. On Jan. 1, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana, six years after Colorado became the first to do so. Missouri will begin selling medicinal marijuana later this year, most likely in the spring, and thousands of residents have already been issued certification cards.
With completely different legislation in the surrounding states, residents are understandably perplexed: why is it simpler to obtain medicinal marijuana in Missouri than it is in Illinois? Where can you legally consume cannabis products? What will the price of marijuana be in dispensaries? And, given the ease with which one can travel between Missouri and Illinois in the St. Louis area, what are the restrictions for transporting marijuana across state lines?
From both sides of the Mississippi River, St. Louis Public Radio is answering listener questions about marijuana legalization. Answers to frequently asked questions and questions contributed by readers can be found here. Isn’t your question answered here? Inquire with our reporting team and contribute to our reporting:
What do you say if you walk into a dispensary and just want to buy plain old marijuana?
This section to buy weed online is commonly referred to as “flower” in dispensaries. Look for the flower portion of the menu or the “pre-rolls,” which are pre-rolled joints containing marijuana flower, if you’re seeking for a smokable product.
If you ask for “pot,” “buds,” “leaf,” or any other slang name for marijuana, any budtender will know what you’re talking about. Customers can choose from a variety of flower, edibles, concentrates, and other products at most dispensaries. Please feel free to ask questions at the dispensary in order to locate the right product for you.
How frequently can you purchase from a dispensary? Is there a time limit on how long you have to wait between purchases?
Illinois law only regulates how much recreational marijuana a person can lawfully possess, not how often they can buy it. Where you reside determines what those constraints are.
Residents of Illinois are entitled to:
- Amount of cannabis flower: up to 30 grams
- Cannabis-infused items, like as edibles, can contain up to 500 milligrams of THC.
- Cannabis concentrate up to 5 grams
Out-of-state residents are only allowed to purchase half of those amounts. Those totals are cumulative, so someone can have as many products as they want in each category.
In Illinois, it’s unlawful to go from dispensary to dispensary, buying the maximum amount of product authorized at each one.
Medical marijuana users are subject to different rules:
- Medical marijuana cardholders in Illinois can buy 2.5 ounces (75 grams) of marijuana every 14 days.
In Missouri, cardholders are allowed to possess up to four ounces of dried, unprocessed marijuana or its equivalent during the course of 30 days. The state Department of Health and Senior Services requires two independent physician certifications detailing how much more a qualifying patient requires if there is a compelling reason.
What do we truly know about marijuana? What kind of study has been done since it has been nationally outlawed for so long?
Marijuana has been shown to have medical benefits, including the ability to aid sleep, promote hunger, and avoid vomiting, according to researchers. A few medications that are either derived from cannabis or have similar compounds have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. There is no hard evidence that marijuana causes cancer tumors to grow.
It’s difficult for researchers in the United States to access marijuana for research. To operate with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, American researchers must first obtain a Schedule I license from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which can take months or even years. Some of the most cutting-edge cannabis research comes from countries with laxer drug regulations, like Israel, the Czech Republic, and Uruguay.
What age is it legal to buy and consume cannabis?
In Illinois, you must be 21 years old to buy or consume cannabis recreationally.
Residents of Missouri, regardless of age, will require a medical card to legally access marijuana. Patients under the age of 18 who have debilitating diseases and parental clearance can apply for medical cards and consume medical cannabis in both states. Illinois just enacted legislation allowing students to ingest medical cannabis on school grounds if it is administered by a parent, guardian, or caretaker.
What makes buying recreational marijuana on the white market different from buying it on the black market?
The white market, which refers to legal marijuana sales and is the polar opposite of the “black” market, is heavily regulated. White market marijuana is grown under rigorous pesticide use guidelines and is tested for safety and potency before being sold, and it is taxed by the state.
Because black-market medications aren’t regulated, they can become contaminated. For example, black-market cannabis products are mostly to blame for a recent rash of vaping-related illnesses and deaths. The cartridges were obtained from “informal sources,” such as “illicit vendors, or off the street,” according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hundreds of goods and strains are available at white-market dispensaries. Dispensary employees, referred classified as “budtenders,” are educated to assist consumers in selecting goods based on their needs and preferences.
Is it legal to cultivate your own marijuana?
Missouri residents who have patient cultivation cards are allowed to grow up to six blooming plants. The term “flower” refers to the blooming section of the marijuana plant that contains THC, the psychoactive substance. Six male (non-flowering) plants and six “cloned” plants grown from plant cuttings are allowed to be kept by registered home cultivators in the state. This boosts the total number of plants per cardholder to 18 plants.
Patient cultivation cards cost an extra $100 and are different from medical marijuana cards.
A cardholder who also serves as the principal caretaker for another qualifying patient is allowed to grow an extra six flowering plants, six male plants, and six clones.
Residents of Illinois with medical cards are allowed to grow up to five plants per household.
Plants must be kept out of sight and in a locked room where children cannot access them in both states.
Why is it easier in Missouri to obtain a medical marijuana card than in Illinois?
The Missouri and Illinois programs are similar in that they allow doctors to certify people who have a qualified medical condition to consume cannabis. However, the approaches of the two states are vastly different.
Although Illinois’ list of qualifying diseases is more specific and longer than Missouri’s, physicians in Illinois do not have the discretion to accept patients who do not meet the criteria. Both states recognize cancer, epilepsy, and chronic pain as qualifying conditions. In Missouri, however, the law allows patients to be qualified based on “a physician’s professional opinion.” This implies that if a doctor believes cannabis can help with a condition that isn’t on the state’s list of qualifying conditions, a patient may still be eligible for a medical card.
A “bona-fide relationship” between the patient and the physician is required by Illinois law. Physicians must demonstrate that they have maintained a long-term relationship with the patient. They must also show that they are in charge of assessing and treating the ailment that will be treated with the medicine.
Doctors in Missouri are not need to maintain a long-term relationship with patients in order to certify that they have a qualifying disease, which some fear may encourage people to shop for doctors.
What will happen to people who have been convicted of marijuana possession? Will marijuana-related offenses result in records being expunged?
Only Illinois has taken action on this. People who were arrested for handling 30 grams or less of cannabis but were not convicted in Illinois will have their records expunged automatically. People who have been convicted can request a review of their case.
What Legalization Means For People With Cannabis Convictions In Illinois, from NPR Illinois
The day before recreational marijuana was legalized in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered pardons for more than 11,000 low-level marijuana charges. On top of more than 500,000 arrest records, the Illinois State Police have discovered more than 150,000 convictions that may be eligible for pardons or expungement.
Is there an impact on agribusiness in Missouri and Illinois if marijuana is legalized? I’m particularly intrigued by the prospect of hemp production in the future.
Hemp cultivation is undoubtedly on its way to the region, however this is largely due to national regulations rather than local authorization. Industrial hemp production is now legal in all 50 states, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, which delegated regulation and permitting to the states. Illinois has adopted hemp-growing regulations that will take effect in 2019. After a 70-year ban, Missouri farmers will be able to begin growing in the 2020 season.
The Difference Between Hemp And Marijuana (via NPR Illinois)
Industrial hemp was outlawed in the United States decades ago due to its link to marijuana. Proponents of resuming hemp farming contended that the crop contains just trace quantities of THC. “To get high, you’d have to smoke a hemp joint the size of a telephone pole,” said Roger Johnson, head of the National Farmers Union. Hemp is illegal because it resembles marijuana.”
Will I be able to acquire medical marijuana in Missouri with proper identification if I am a medical patient in Illinois?
No. Out-of-state cards are not accepted in Missouri or Illinois, though this may change in the future. You might purchase a temporary 30-day medical card from Arkansas or Oklahoma, both of which enable cardholders from other states to apply. If you’re willing to travel, Nevada enables out-of-state medical marijuana cardholders to purchase the drug.
Does Illinois Supply and Provision in Collinsville accept medicinal marijuana cards from Missouri residents?
Out-of-state cards are not accepted by Illinois dispensaries. The recreational marijuana menu in Illinois is limited to Missouri cardholders. On Mondays, however, medical patients in Missouri are still allowed to shop at Illinois Supply and Provisions, which is only open to medical patients.
Is it legal to smoke in a parked automobile if you’re not driving?
Legally, no. According to the law, you are not permitted to consume alcohol anywhere where you could fairly expect to be observed by others.
Is it possible to buy marijuana in Illinois with a credit card?
You will not be able to use a credit card. You can use a debit card at some sites, such as the dispensary in Collinsville. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay in cash.
Where can I get marijuana legally? Is there anything I can’t do?
In Illinois, recreational cannabis users are only allowed to smoke or consume it in their own homes. Usage can be restricted by schools and landlords. It is illegal to use marijuana in a public vehicle.
In addition, some Illinois towns may permit the use of marijuana in private clubs or lounges. Collinsville has approved the establishment of such a business, but none has yet opened.
There are exceptions for medicinal usage, such as permitting children with medical cards to consume at school when supervised by a parent, guardian, or caretaker. Medical patients are still not permitted to consume in state parks, according to Missouri.
Is it lawful for my employer to terminate me if I use legal recreational marijuana when I’m not working?
Yes. Despite the ambiguity, employers can still implement drug-free policies, test for marijuana use, and hire or fire employees based on the results of those tests. As an employee, the best course of action is to learn about the company’s policies. Even if they live in a state where marijuana is legal, federal employees, contractors, and workers who utilize commercial driver’s licenses are not authorized to use it.
Where will marijuana dispensaries be located? Will some cities be governed by separate rules?
The laws governing where marijuana-related enterprises can operate are set by individual cities and counties. If a city agrees to allow recreational sales, zoning restrictions can be used to restrict where these firms can open.
Municipalities can opt out of the statewide scheme, which means they can prohibit recreational sales within their borders but not prevent residents from purchasing in another city.
On the black market, how much does marijuana cost?
This is determined by the municipality. Municipalities can levy up to a 3% tax on recreational cannabis in addition to the state excise tax. To profit from drug sales, several Illinois border communities are putting on an extra 3%.
Medical marijuana is priced differently than recreational marijuana. The fact that cardholders do not have to pay additional state and municipal taxes encourages them to continue in the medical program.
What should I bring with me to a dispensary?
Bring a valid government-issued photo ID with your name, age, and current address. Dispensaries will scan IDs to prove they’re real, like they do in other weed-legal states, but they’re not allowed to keep track of who visits and how often. Parts of the cannabis law were meant to preserve the privacy of consumers.
Medical patients must bring their program registry ID card with them.
Also, remember to bring money. Cash or, in certain situations, debit cards are the only options right now. Cannabis cannot currently be purchased using credit cards or checks. The majority of dispensaries will have ATMs on site. Debit cards will be accepted at Illinois Supply and Provisions in Collinsville.
What is the maximum amount I can acquire and how much will it cost?
Whether you live in Illinois or not makes a difference. Residents of Illinois can purchase:
- Amount of cannabis flower: up to 30 grams
- A cannabis-infused product, such as an edible, can contain up to 500 milligrams of THC.
- Cannabis concentrate up to 5 grams
Out-of-state residents are only allowed to purchase half of those amounts.
These figures reflect possession limits, according to the law. It’s illegal, for example, to go from dispensary to dispensary and buy 30 grams of cannabis at each. The totals are also cumulative, so someone can have as many products as they want in each category.
In Missouri, how can you receive a medicinal marijuana card?
The first step is to make an appointment with a doctor who is familiar with medical marijuana certification. Patients in Missouri are not required to have a long-term relationship with a doctor in order to be certified by them, thus they don’t have to be your usual doctor.
Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, not all doctors are comfortable giving cannabis prescriptions, and several large health systems, such as Mercy, expressly forbid it. The majority of patients locate a certifying doctor through word of mouth or a quick internet search.
You’ll need to show proof of a qualifying condition at the appointment. Some individuals do this by presenting a prescription, such as a Prozac prescription for anxiety, to show that they are being treated for a problem. The law lists a number of eligible diseases, including cancer, epilepsy, psychological disorders, and terminal illnesses, but the state also allows physicians to certify people for a license even if their condition isn’t on the list.
The state will provide you a medicinal marijuana patient card if the doctor signs off on your certification.
I have my Missouri medical marijuana card, but no dispensaries have opened yet, so how can I receive my medicine? Is it possible to order it from a different state?
Despite the fact that medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, licensed dispensaries are not scheduled to begin until spring 2020 at the earliest. Until then, there is no way to legally purchase marijuana in Missouri.
Even if you have a Missouri medical card, it is illegal to ship or transport marijuana across state lines.
If you’ve been convicted of a felony or are on probation or parole in Missouri, can you acquire a medical card?
A person’s previous offenses do not prevent them from acquiring medical marijuana.
However, after the card is issued, a qualifying patient’s card may be removed if they commit specific offenses. The state can cancel your card if someone else uses it to buy marijuana and you don’t report it stolen or misplaced.
Is it legal to own firearms in Missouri if you have a medical marijuana card?
Because Missouri’s medicinal marijuana statute makes no mention of firearms, state law does not specifically prohibit patients from owning firearms.
However, because marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, marijuana users may be prohibited from possessing or purchasing a firearm under federal law, regardless of whether medicinal marijuana is permitted in their state. Patients with specific questions should contact their attorney or the relevant criminal enforcement agency, according to the state health department.
When will Missouri reveal the locations of the medical marijuana dispensaries?
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued 192 state medicinal marijuana dispensary licenses on Jan. 24, the legal minimum. View our map to view all of the locations that have been approved: In Missouri, here’s where you’ll be able to get medical marijuana.
So far, how many people have received medical cards?
After only a few months of accepting applications, Missouri had accepted over 17,000 medical card users as of November. In comparison, the state of Illinois approved fewer than 8,000 applications in the first two years of its program.
Why will Missouri legalize medical marijuana but not recreational marijuana?
Missouri’s medicinal marijuana program began as a ballot initiative, which means it was enacted by voters rather than legislators. In November 2018, nearly two-thirds of Missouri voters supported adding Amendment 2 to the state constitution.
Amendment 2 only dealt with medical marijuana; it made no mention of recreational marijuana. Although there is now little impetus in the Missouri Legislature to expand legalization further, voters could vote on a separate ballot issue to legalize recreational marijuana. Most states that have legalized recreational marijuana have pursued this path.
The only state without a statewide drug monitoring program is Missouri. Human trafficking is prevalent in our country.
What impact will this new law have on the state? Is it, or will it become, a magnet for more corruption and abuse?
This is a fantastic question. We don’t yet have a response for you, but we’ll keep reporting until we do. Thank you for your inquiry.