If you’ll believe it, it is now legal to cultivate both medical marijuana and industrial hemp in Missouri, and there is a formal process for applying for and obtaining your cultivation license.
What is the Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp?
Hemp and Marijuana are both derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant and, until quite recently, were not permitted for cultivation in Missouri. Where they differ is in their uses.
Industrial hemp has a significantly lower THC content than marijuana, about 10% of typical levels of THC present in processed cannabis flower, so hemp does not have the same range of medical benefits and no psychoactive effects. Rather, it is used for the extremely durable and malleable properties of its fibers, food from its seeds, and the therapeutic properties of extracted CBD.
Some of the numerous uses for industrial hemp include paper products, molded plastics, textiles, construction materials, human consumption (seeds), culinary oils, fuel, skincare, and CBD extracts.
The uses of medical marijuana are more widely understood and celebrated. Missouri has a lengthy list of qualifying medical conditions that it recognizes as being treated or alleviated by the administration of medical marijuana or medical marijuana products. Similar to hemp, medical marijuana products can come in a wide variety of forms: smokeable flower, wax, infused baked goods or candies, topicals, tinctures, and many other medical marijuana products are available in legal, operational markets across the country.
Missourians will soon be able to access these products themselves when the state’s first dispensaries open their doors.
Is it Legal to Grow Marijuana in Missouri?
In 2018, Missouri set in motion the Medical Marijuana Program when voters passed Amendment 2, legalizing medical marijuana and creating a variety of ways patients and businesses could pursue their goal to cultivate cannabis. By following the proper steps, you can learn how to legally grow marijuana in your home and also learn about the process of applying for a business license to cultivate marijuana in Missouri.
Is it Legal to Grow Hemp in Missouri?
In 2014, MO HB 2238 passed, permitting the Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp for the purpose of research. HB 2238 also allowed for the medical treatment of epilepsy patients with CBD oil with the recommendation of a neurologist. Additionally, HB 2054 declares industrial hemp to be no longer considered a controlled substance and permissible for cultivation if the grower has no drug-related offenses.
With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the federal government implemented regulatory standards for industrial hemp production and allowed states to oversee and regulate those programs as they see fit within the guidelines. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp products must stay below .3% THC and contain at least 5% CBD.
After the update to federal laws, Missouri modified its own hemp cultivation laws and regulatory rules to fall in line with the new federal regulations.
How to Get a License to Grow Hemp in Missouri
Applying for either an industrial hemp Producer Registration or an Agricultural Hemp Propagule and Seed Permit in Missouri is quite a bit less arduous than the process for applying to become a marijuana cultivator.
Here’s some quick information on the application process and industrial hemp program in Missouri:
Application Period – The application window is open year-round
Application fees – $750 per application
Limitations on Licenses Issued – There will not be a limit on the number of licenses the Department of Agriculture issues
Producer Registration: Authorizes a person to cultivate industrial hemp in Missouri and sell their harvested, nonviable products once they are confirmed to have an acceptable hemp THC level.
Propagule and Seed Permit: Authorizes a person to sell, distribute, or offer for sale any viable industrial hemp in Missouri, including propagules (transplants, cuttings, clones, seedlings, etc.) or seed.
- A Missouri Industrial Hemp permit is not required for out-of-state persons to sell into Missouri unless they have an in-state presence, such as a brick-and-mortar location (even if not open to the public), in-person sales, or in-person distribution within the state.
- If you’re uncertain whether you need a producer registration, a propagule and seed permit or both, see the following guide, What Permit(s) Do I Need?
What is Required to Apply to Grow Hemp
- Applicant must be a Missouri resident or treat the state as a permanent home
- The registered location cannot be within a residential structure
- applicant and all key participants must pass a state and federal criminal history fingerprint background check and not have been found guilty of, or pled guilty to, a felony offense under any state or federal law regarding the possession, distribution, manufacturing, cultivation or use of a controlled substance in the 10 years immediately preceding the application date.
If you have further questions on applying for an industrial hemp license in Missouri, see the related FAQ’s from the Department of Agriculture
If you want to see which industrial hemp cultivators have already been approved, click here.
Can I Still Apply for a License to Cultivate Medical Marijuana in Missouri?
Marijuana cultivation is regulated by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), and the application period closed last August. In December, DHSS awarded 60 cultivation licenses to applicants all over the state and is now overseeing the final commencement inspections. In the event that those awarded licenses are unable to complete their operational buildout, the license will then be awarded to the next highest-scoring application..
These cultivators will be the only ones supplying Missouri’s medical marijuana dispensaries with legal weed and its infused product manufacturers with plant matter for making into edibles, concentrates, and other medical marijuana products.
However, the Department has the power to issue more licenses in the future. And efforts to legalize recreational pot in the future will likely include additional licenses
Home Cultivation of Medical Marijuana in Missouri
If you are a qualifying patient in the state of Missouri, you can apply for a patient cultivation card to accompany your patient identification card. The cultivation card grants you the right to cultivate quite a lot of marijuana in the confines of your home: 6 flowering plants, 6 non-flowering plants, and 6 clones.
You can apply for your patient cultivation license at the same time as you submit your medical marijuana patient application, and it will cost you $100 on top of the $25 patient card application fee. If you already have your medical marijuana card, but did not initially apply for home cultivation, there is a simple fix! All you have to do is jump on the Department of Health and Senior Services’s web portal; navigate to ‘Create a New Application;’ and select ‘Patient Update.’
When you submit the application/update, it is crucial that you make a point to mention the following explicitly:
- A detailed description of the cultivation area, like “unused, locked closest in patient’s bedroom.”
- The location is locked and secure
- This area will only be accessible to the patient or the patient caregiver.
Ensure that you are as detailed as possible when writing the description of the cultivation area, including details about the type of lock, where in the house the room is located, and if it has windows that are accessible from the outside (it should not).
Additional Information About Missouri Medical Marijuana Businesses
For a complete and comprehensive list of licensed medical marijuana facilities facilities in Missouri see the following: