Missouri has witnessed a significant turning point in its legal landscape as officials celebrate the expungement of over 100,000 marijuana-related cases within the first year of legalization. The state's journey toward cannabis reform is marked by milestones and challenges, reflecting the broader complexities of marijuana legalization.
In this blog post, we'll explore the expungement process, the impact of Missouri's evolving marijuana laws, and the crucial role of medical marijuana in this dynamic landscape.
Expungement of Marijuana Offenses
Missouri's commitment to justice and rectifying historical wrongs is evident in the expungement of marijuana offenses. The process has proven to be a monumental task, with some courts facing challenges in meeting the designated deadlines for felony expungements. Legal experts attribute these delays to the sheer volume of cases accumulated over the past century of marijuana prohibition.
Attorney Dan Viets, a coordinator for Missouri NORML and co-author of the state's 2022 constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana, emphasized the significance of the automatic expungement provision. This provision stands out as one of the most crucial components of Missouri's marijuana law, with the potential to rectify the damage inflicted on hundreds of thousands of Missourians over the past century.
Impact on Marijuana Arrests
Viets notes that, in addition to preventing around 20,000 marijuana arrests annually, the law mandates the state government to address the repercussions of past convictions. While the automatic expungement process is a pivotal step forward, the monumental task involves locating and expunging older case records that are not computerized. This manual effort requires delving into physical archives stored in boxes and attics, extending the timeline for complete expungement.
The ballot measure, now codified as Article XIV in the state Constitution, allocated funds for expungement through the state's 6 percent sales tax on adult-use marijuana. The tax revenue has exceeded expectations, providing more than enough funding for the expungement process. However, the complexity of physical record retrieval and expungement remains a challenge, particularly for cases that have never been computerized.
Missouri's marijuana industry has seen substantial growth, with total marijuana sales surpassing the $1 billion mark for 2023. Lawmakers have announced the allocation of $17 million in tax revenue to fund veterans' health, drug treatment, and legal aid. This reflects a commitment to utilizing marijuana tax revenue for broader societal benefits.
Challenges in the Marijuana Industry
While celebrating milestones, Missouri's marijuana system has faced challenges throughout the year. Tens of thousands of products were recalled due to alleged illegal use of hemp-derived cannabinoids from outside the state. Regulatory scrutiny intensified, leading to the revocation of business licenses for companies involved in controversial practices.
Challenges include product testing labs facing allegations of "lab shopping" for higher THC potency numbers and legal disputes between cannabis businesses and workers over unfair labor practices. Lawmakers have questioned the regulatory authority's decisions regarding product branding and packaging rules aimed at limiting appeal to children. Additionally, a lawsuit challenges the perceived unconstitutional nature of "stacked" local and county taxes imposed on cannabis businesses.
The Role of Medical Marijuana
Amidst the challenges and achievements, the importance of medical marijuana remains prominent in Missouri's evolving landscape. While the state embraces recreational marijuana, the expungement process highlights the ongoing relevance of medical marijuana. Obtaining a medical marijuana card is a strategic choice for individuals seeking legal compliance, protection, and access to marijuana products through regulated channels.
Medical marijuana offers a compelling alternative for individuals with qualifying conditions, including chronic pain, epilepsy, and PTSD. The personalized treatment plans crafted by healthcare professionals ensure targeted relief, and the legal framework around medical marijuana safeguards patients against legal repercussions. The expungement process signifies a broader acknowledgment of the therapeutic benefits of marijuana and a commitment to rectifying historical injustices.
Missouri's journey into marijuana legalization encompasses both achievements and hurdles, reflecting the intricate nature of navigating changing legal landscapes. The expungement of over 100,000 marijuana offenses stands as a testament to the state's commitment to justice and rectifying past wrongs.
As Missouri continues to evolve its marijuana laws, the significance of medical marijuana remains pivotal, providing a legal and therapeutic pathway for individuals in need. The dynamic interplay of regulatory challenges and societal benefits underscores the complexities inherent in the marijuana industry, shaping the narrative of Missouri's progressive approach to cannabis reform.
Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Missouri Today!
Although marijuana is now legal recreationally in Missouri, you should still get your medical card. If you have any questions, just give us a call!
There are so many benefits to having your medical marijuana card in a recreational state, including being responsible for less in taxes, saving at dispensaries, and higher possession laws.
If you don’t already have your medical marijuana card, we can help! Our doctors are standing by to take you through a quick and easy evaluation to see if you qualify. During your evaluation, they will be happy to answer all your questions about how cannabis may be able to help with your anxiety or any other medical conditions.
Schedule an appointment with a marijuana professional online or by giving us a call at
(877) 303-3117 to talk to a patient support representative.
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is to help everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting the relief you can trust today!
Check out Missouri Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.