'Immaculate Conception' needed to kickstart medical marijuana industry in Missouri
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.
Cannabis Tourism in Massachusetts
Overview of Adult Use Marijuana in Massachusetts
Marijuana is legal in Massachusetts for people 21 and older, but that doesn’t mean you can use it anywhere you want. Here are some basics about the law:
- You can’t use marijuana in any form (smoking, vaping, edibles, etc.) in public or on federal land
- You can have up to one ounce on you, but not more than five grams of marijuana can be in the form of marijuana concentrate.
- In Massachusetts, you can grow up to six plants in your home, and up to 12 plants where two or more adults reside.
- In Massachusetts, you may have in your primary residence up to 10 ounces of marijuana in addition to any marijuana produced by plants legally cultivated on the premises. Any amount over one ounce of marijuana must be locked up, and it is best to keep any amount away from kids and pets.
- Like alcohol, you cannot have an open container of any form of marijuana in the passenger area of your car while on the road or at a place where the public has access. It must be stored in a closed container in your trunk or a locked glove compartment.
- It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. If you use, don’t get behind the wheel. Instead, use public transportation, ride-shares, or catch a ride with a sober friend.
- Employers, landlords, cities, and towns may have their own policies about the use of marijuana. Check with them to see what is allowed.
For more information about the regulations that govern what you can and can’t do, how much you can grow and have, and when and where it’s okay to use, visit MoreAboutMj.org.
Out-of-towners’ guide to purchasing cannabis in Massachusetts
Have your ID ready
First of all, remember that you have to be 21 to purchase and consume cannabis legally. No exceptions. And there will be no fooling a dispensary or getting by without an official government issued ID the way some people get around the law when it comes to buying alcohol under age. The rules are strict with cannabis sales and your ID will be checked and rechecked before you are allowed into the establishment, let alone to make a purchase.
There are buying limits
There are limits for how much cannabis any person can buy at a time, regardless of whether you are a resident of Massachusetts or not. The current possession limit is one ounce, where not more than five grams of marijuana can be in the form of marijuana concentrate. That can get confusing when you are purchasing different kinds of products in a dispensary. Your budtender and other dispensary staff will be able to help guide you when making purchases to ensure you stay under the legal limit. Keep in mind that they also are prohibited from selling you more than that amount per transaction, so don’t try to convince or coerce them into selling you more. That is illegal and will land everyone involved in hot water.
Public consumption is not allowed
While it is legal to possess cannabis products in public, any consumption of marijuana in public or smoking marijuana in an area where smoking tobacco is prohibited is also in violation of the law. Non-locals might think that Massachusetts residents walk down the street smoking cannabis like tobacco, but that is completely false. Don’t make this mistake and end up with serious consequences.
Not all hotels or other rental accommodations are cool with consumption
For visitors who abide by the “no public consumption” rules, there are only a few options left for them as far as locations to consume their legally purchased cannabis products. While some people may be staying with friends or family in private residences, others will be staying in a hotel or other rental property. Be sure to check with any kind of rental or hotel accommodations before consuming cannabis products – whether by smoking, vaping, eating or otherwise – on their premises. Some property owners or managers are okay with cannabis use, while some are strictly opposed to consumption on their property. Don’t get kicked out of your accommodations because you didn’t follow the rules. Massachusetts currently does not license social consumption or mixed-use establishments such as marijuana consumption bars or yoga studios.
How to carry products with you while you are traveling in Massachusetts
The short answer is to carry marijuana and marijuana products in a concealed and enclosed manner. When purchasing products, they will be given to you in a sealed bag or case. This is perfect to store your products within your luggage, car or other personal property when you are in public. The idea is to keep your products secure and out of sight. When traveling with children or pets, you should be especially cautious about keeping products locked up and out of reach.
Driving under the influence
Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal. Period. If you are consuming cannabis products while visiting Massachusetts, make sure there is a sober driver and never get behind the wheel after you have consumed any amount of cannabis. If you need to get from place to place after consuming cannabis, consider a rideshare, such as a cab, Uber or Lyft. Keep in mind that the impairment effects of edible marijuana may be delayed by two hours or more. Like alcohol, you may not have an open container of adult-use marijuana/marijuana products in the passenger area of your car while on the road or at a place where the public has access.
Taking your cannabis with you
Taking any amount of cannabis with you when you return home outside the state of Massachusetts is illegal and should under no circumstances be attempted. The possession of cannabis in any form is no longer legal as soon as you cross a state line, and the possession of any cannabis product is also prohibited in Massachusetts airports. Don’t risk the state or federal consequences and leave all cannabis products behind in Massachusetts when you depart.
Mailing your purchases home
Many tourists think that shipping their marijuana purchases home is an easy way around laws that prohibit them from taking products across state lines. Unfortunately, that could not be more wrong. In fact, it counts as moving illegal drugs across state lines, and if you are caught, there will be steep penalties. Again, do not risk the consequences and leave all legally purchased cannabis products in Massachusetts.