What To Do if You Are Pulled Over With Cannabis in Missouri

If you drive in Missouri with cannabis in your car, you may have questions about what happens if you are pulled over by the police. Getting pulled over with cannabis in your car can potentially lead to serious consequences, even for medical cannabis patients who think they are doing everything right within the law.

 

What Should You Do if You Are Pulled Over?

 

If you are pulled over by police, remain calm, use your turn signal, and pull your vehicle to a safe location on the right side of the road. Follow the officer’s instructions, stay calm, answer questions, and provide the requested documents.

 

What Happens if You Have a Medical Cannabis Card and Are Pulled Over in Missouri?

 

If you have a medical cannabis card in Missouri, you must have it with you if you are in possession of cannabis. For Missouri medical cannabis patients, the laws for cannabis possession are as follows:

  • Medical cannabis patients who do not cultivate or have cannabis cultivated on their behalf may be in possession of up to a 60-day supply (or eight ounces) of dried unprocessed cannabis or its equivalent.
  • Medical cannabis patients who are cultivating cannabis for medical use, or their caregivers are cultivating on their behalf, may be in possession of up to a 90-day supply (or 12 ounces) of dried unprocessed cannabis or its equivalent. The cannabis that is cultivated must stay on the property and be in the patient’s or caregiver’s control.

 

What if Police Suspect You Are Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis?

 

According to Missouri implied consent law, when operating a motor vehicle drivers automatically consent to a Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) test if arrested. Police can require a driver to take a THC test if there are reasonable grounds to believe they are operating a motor vehicle under the influence, or if they are involved in a major auto accident.

If a driver in Missouri refuses to take a drug test after a police officer requests it, they can be legally forced to do so through a warrant. Refusal to take a test has immediate consequences, such as automatic license revocation for one year. Evidence of refusal to take a drug test can be admissible in court in a cannabis DUI prosecution.

Unlike searching a residence, police do not need a warrant to search your vehicle if they have a reason to suspect you have been consuming cannabis, such as smelling cannabis in your car.

 

Can You Get a Cannabis DUI if You Are a Medical Cannabis Patient in Missouri?

 

According to the state of Missouri, a medical cannabis card “does not offer individuals protection from violating laws pertaining to operating a motorized vehicle while under the influence. Nothing in Article XIV permits a person to operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any dangerous device or motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana.” Therefore, even if you have a medical cannabis patient card in Missouri, you can still be charged with a cannabis DUI.

 

What Are the Penalties for Cannabis Possession in Missouri?

 

Cannabis possession is still illegal in Missouri, except for qualified medical cannabis patients. The penalties for cannabis possession in Missouri are as follows:

  • For up to 10 grams on the first offense, the penalty is a misdemeanor and a maximum fine of $500.
  • For up to 10 grams on the second offense, the penalty is a misdemeanor, up to one year in jail, and a maximum fine of $2,000.
  • For 10 to 35 grams, the penalty is a misdemeanor, up to one year in jail, and a maximum fine of $2,000.
  • For more than 35 grams up to 30 kilograms, the penalty is a felony, up to seven years in jail, and a maximum fine of $10,000.

 

What About Getting Pulled Over With Cannabis in Columbia, Kansas City, and St. Louis?

 

A few of Missouri’s major cities introduced cannabis ordinances before statewide 2014 cannabis reforms.

  • Columbia

Starting in 2004, Columbia police can no longer arrest first-time offenders with less than 35 grams for cannabis possession. These offenders would face a fine instead of up to $300.

  • Kansas City

Starting in 2017, Kansas City reduced its fine to $25 for first-time cannabis possession of fewer than 25 grams. Then in 2020, Kansas City eliminated this first-time fine.

  • St. Louis

Starting in 2013, St. Louis police can no longer arrest first-time offenders with less than 35 grams for cannabis possession. These offenders would face a fine instead of up to $300.

 

How To Protect Against a Cannabis DUI Charge in Missouri

 

A cannabis DUI arrest or cannabis DUI charge in Missouri is expensive, and the laws are constantly changing. Cannabis DUI charges disproportionately impact people without the financial resources to defend themselves and access legal defense. That is why it is important to consume responsibly, know the facts, and have a proactive legal plan.

It is imperative for cannabis consumers to understand their rights as drivers. You deserve quality representation in the event of facing cannabis DUI charges. At reepher, we help cover these and related costs.

Does a Medical Card Protect Against a Cannabis DUI in Missouri?

Missouri_Capital

When people think about a DUI in Missouri, they are usually referring to alcohol. But any drug that causes impairment, including over-the-counter and prescribed medications, can lead to a DUI charge. This includes medical cannabis, even if you have a valid medical cannabis patient card in Missouri.

Missouri legalized medical cannabis in 2018, and there are currently over 175,000 active medical cannabis patients in the state. Many people with medical cannabis cards in Missouri think they are doing everything right within the law, but they can still be charged with a cannabis DUI.

 

Can I Get a Cannabis DUI With a Medical Card in Missouri?

 

Yes! Even if you have a medical cannabis card in Missouri, you can still be charged with a cannabis DUI.

According to the state of Missouri, a medical cannabis card “does not offer individuals protection from violating laws pertaining to operating a motorized vehicle while under the influence. Nothing in Article XIV permits a person to operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any dangerous device or motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana.”

Medical cannabis laws in Missouri only allow for medical cannabis consumption and not recreational use. However, having a medical card in Missouri does not prevent a driver from being charged with a cannabis DUI.

 

How is a Cannabis DUI Defined in Missouri?

 

A cannabis DUI is a serious offense in Missouri. In Missouri, a person is guilty of a cannabis DUI if they operate a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated or drugged condition.

If police suspect a driver is impaired, they have the right to require a cannabis drug test. The police may also seek a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), a specially trained police officer who checks the driver’s vision, balance, pupil dilation, heart rate, and other signs to determine impairment.

Unlike with alcohol DUI charges, there is no legal limit for THC in the bloodstream for drivers in Missouri. Since THC metabolites can linger for days, weeks, or even months after consuming cannabis, drivers could be charged with a cannabis DUI based on the THC in their system from prior medical cannabis consumption, even if they do not feel “high” while driving.

Any kind of medical cannabis can lead to detectable THC in the blood or urine which could lead to a cannabis DUI. This could include flower, vape, edibles, topicals, tinctures, and more.

 

How To Protect Against a Cannabis DUI Charge in Missouri

 

The percentage of motor vehicle fatalities involving cannabis in the United States has more than doubled from 9% to about 22% between 2000 and 2018, while fatalities involving alcohol remained stable during the same time frame. The most important part of protecting against a cannabis DUI is to consume responsibly and don’t drive high.

It is important for medical cannabis patients in Missouri to know that if you have a medical cannabis card in the state program, you could still be charged with a cannabis DUI.

A cannabis DUI charge in Missouri is expensive. Cannabis DUI charges disproportionately impact people without the financial resources to defend themselves and access quality legal defense. That is why it is important to consume responsibly, know the facts, and have a proactive legal plan. You deserve quality representation in the event of facing cannabis DUI charges. At reepher, we help cover these and related costs.

Considering that Missouri has no minimum THC threshold for a cannabis DUI conviction, cannabis consumers face serious risks if they drive with the slightest trace of THC in their system. If you’re a medical or recreational cannabis consumer concerned about potential DUI charges, consider what a reepher membership has to offer.

MJ in MO — The Current State Of Cannabis Legalization In Missouri

Missouri is far better known for its BBQ than its marijuana buds. Even as nearby Illinois opens up to the weed industry, the Show-Me State has a firm stance against recreational marijuana. But that doesn’t mean the recent “green wave” hasn’t had any effect on Missouri’s cannabis laws. While recreational pot may be illegal, Missouri has begun relaxing its stance towards this green herb. If Missouri’s marijuana activists have their way, this Midwestern state may soon abolish its ban on adult-use recreational marijuana.

 

Missouri’s Marijuana Mandates — Two Historical “High” Points

 

In 2014, Jefferson City legislators made their first move towards significant marijuana reform. Under the successful Senate Bill 491, Missouri downgraded its penalties for petty marijuana possession. Now, first-time offenders caught with below 10 grams of marijuana won’t face jail time. Instead, these residents will have to pay a fine of no more than $500.

Four years after SB 491 passed, Missouri took another step towards marijuana legalization. This time, voters passed Amendment 2, which inaugurated the state’s Medical Marijuana Program.

If Missouri patients have a referral from their doctor, they can submit an MMJ card application to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. Once approved, MMJ patients could legally purchase 10 ounces of cannabis flowers per month from a state-recognized dispensary. These possession limits could be increased depending on each doctor’s recommendations.

 

Are Pot Laws Different In Missouri’s Big Cities?

 

While statewide cannabis reforms didn’t start till 2014, a few of Missouri’s cities introduced new ordinances long before SB 491. In fact, Columbia residents were the first to pass decriminalization policies way back in 2004. Any first-time offenders in Columbia with under 35 g of cannabis flowers can only face a max fine of $250.

Missouri’s second-largest city—St. Louis—followed Columbia’s example when it passed decriminalization laws in 2013. St. Louis police can no longer arrest first-time offenders with less than 35 g of cannabis flowers. Instead, these offenders will face a fine of up to $300.

It took Kansas City a bit longer to increase its decriminalization laws, but it’s now considered one of Missouri’s most lenient cities for pot smokers. In 2017, KC reduced its fine for first-time pot possession (at 35 g) to just $25. However, in 2020, Kansas City eliminated this first-time fine. Although this doesn’t mean marijuana is legal in Kansas City, it does suggest the City of Fountains isn’t too concerned with petty cannabis possession.

A few smaller cities that have reduced their cannabis possession fines include Maplewood and Webster Groves. Both of these cities only fine residents for first-time possession of 35 g of cannabis.

 

What Are The Penalties For Growing Pot In Missouri?

 

Although Missouri has been easing its stance on marijuana possession, the same can’t be said about at-home cultivation. Recreational users face serious felony charges if they’re caught growing any amount of cannabis at home. Anyone caught growing less than 35 g of recreational weed could pay a fine of $10,000 and serve up to four years in jail.

The only exception to this policy is patients on the MMJ program. Since the passage of Amendment 2, MMJ cardholders could legally grow up to six marijuana plants in their household. It’s also legal for state-registered caretakers to grow marijuana for their patients. MMJ cardholders must ensure all of their marijuana plants are far from public view.

 

Is CBD Hemp Legal In Missouri?

 

Interestingly, Missouri’s laws surrounding CBD hemp are more ambiguous than its recreational marijuana policies. Even after the 2018 US Farm Bill passed, it’s unclear whether Missouri allows residents to buy, sell, or use recreational CBD oil.

We do know, however, that Missouri allows doctors to prescribe CBD for epileptic patients. 2014’s HB 2238 created the MO Hemp Extract Registration Program (MHERP) to register patients with a doctor’s approval. Once someone has an MHERP-approved card, they can legally purchase up to 20 fl oz of hemp-derived CBD oil. All legal CBD products in Missouri must have a max of 5 percent CBD and ≤ 0.3 percent THC.

In 2018, Missouri further reduced its penalties on hemp flowers with HB 2034. Significantly, this new law differentiates legal hemp from illegal marijuana. As stated in the 2018 US Farm Bill, legal hemp plants must contain ≤ 0.3 percent THC content.

Unfortunately for CBD fans, HB 2034 doesn’t explicitly say whether recreational hemp products are OK. While hemp-derived CBD is federally legal, Missouri police have confiscated CBD goods from smoke shops as recently as 2018. Although these raids seem to have died down in recent years, there are still questions over which CBD products qualify under Missouri’s laws.

So, even if a store offers hemp-derived CBD that conforms to the 2018 US Farm Bill, it’s difficult to say whether it’s legal in Missouri. Until Jefferson City clears up its stance on CBD, hemp fans should be aware of this strange legal situation.

 

Can Missouri Farmers Grow CBD Hemp?

 

Currently, there’s less confusion surrounding hemp cultivation than CBD consumption in Missouri. In fact, the state now has an Industrial Hemp Program under the MO Department of Agriculture. Farmers interested in adding hemp to their crop cycle could send an application to the MODOA at any time.

Just keep in mind that the Missouri Industrial Hemp Program charges a $750 non-refundable application fee. Farmers will also be required to submit a background check and verify their hemp contains ≤ 0.3 percent THC.

Even though Missouri allows farmers to apply for hemp licenses, this doesn’t mean residents could grow CBD hemp at home. If the police catch you growing hemp on your premises, you could face similar penalties to marijuana cultivation.

 

Could Recreational Marijuana Be On Missouri’s 2022 Ballot?

 

As more states embrace legal weed, cannabis activists are hopeful Missouri will soon follow the “green trend.” Indeed, one grassroots coalition called Fair Access Missouri believes recreational marijuana could become a reality as soon as 2022.

In the summer of 2021, Fair Access Missouri sent four petitions for increased marijuana legalization to the attorney general’s office. Three of these proposals legalize adult-use recreational weed, while the fourth added new features to MO’s Medical Marijuana Registry.

The organization New Approach Missouri also announced it would soon submit its proposal for recreational weed. New Approach Missouri is most famous for adding the successful Amendment 2 to the 2018 ballot. This group also attempted to add recreational weed to 2020’s election, but it came up short of the required signatures.

If the attorney general approves any of these proposals, they will need to get 171,592 signatures before the 2022 election.

But even if these proposals fail to make it into the ballot, there seems to be support for recreational weed in Jefferson City. GOP State Representative Shamed Dogan has been the most vocal advocate for legalizing adult-use cannabis. In 2020, Dogan introduced a constitutional amendment that would have eliminated marijuana from the state’s list of illicit drugs. Although Rep. Dogan’s efforts have failed thus far, he seems determined to continue his “push for pot” at the start of 2022.

 

Where Could Missouri Residents Get Legal Weed?

 

The only way Missourians could legally buy weed is to apply for an MMJ card and visit an official dispensary. Since recreational marijuana is still illegal, there are no formally recognized recreational dispensaries in the state. Locals will have to wait for Missouri to legalize adult-use cannabis before legal dispensaries start opening up.

Arguably, the easiest way Missouri residents could purchase recreational cannabis products is to visit a CBD store. Despite the state’s wishy-washy stance on hemp, dozens of CBD vendors now offer hemp flowers, CBD oils, and vape cartridges throughout Missouri. Thanks to the 2018 US Farm Bill, hemp-derived products are legal throughout the USA. For the moment, this may be the safest and easiest way for Missourians to get their hands on a cannabis-related product.

Driving in Missouri as a Cannabis Consumer – An Overview of Missouri’s DUI Laws

Missouri may be the home of Budweiser, but that doesn’t mean it takes a soft stance on DUIs. Drivers who fail to meet Missouri’s strict sobriety standards could easily land themselves in hot water. This is especially true for marijuana. While Missouri has introduced a medical marijuana program, it has a zero-tolerance policy on driving with THC in your system. Even medical card holders could face severe DUI penalties in the Show-Me State.

While most states follow similar DUI policies, there are specific penalties Missouri residents should understand. Having a firm grasp of Missouri’s DUI laws will help you understand the drastic risks of driving as a regular cannabis consumer.

 

What Qualifies As A DUI In Missouri?

 

When people refer to a DUI in Missouri, they’re typically talking about alcohol-induced crashes. No doubt, alcohol remains the predominant drug in Missouri’s DUI cases. However, that doesn’t mean all DUI offenses are related to a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Any intoxicating substance found in a drug test could lead to DUI charges and conviction.

This includes the detection of any product containing THC: flower, vapes, edibles, topicals and more. In fact, there’s no level of THC that’s permissible while driving in Missouri. Unlike the standard ≤ 0.08 percent BAC for drivers over 21, police could convict drivers with a DUI if they have any detectable THC in their bloodstream or urine.

Since THC metabolites could remain in a person’s system hours, or even days, after taking marijuana, drivers could fail DUI tests even if they don’t feel “high.” Indeed, the more a person takes marijuana, the greater the risk of failing a drug test in Missouri.

 

So, What are the Laws Surrounding a Cannabis DUI?

 

Most DUI stops begin with some sort of traffic violation like speeding or rolling through a stop sign. Once a driver is pulled over, the police officer may ask questions or notice behavior that leads to suspicion of driving under the influence.

Police officers could also call a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to the scene to perform tests to determine your sobriety. Physiological indicators of cannabis use include heightened blood pressure, trembling eyelids, pupil dilation, and bloodshot eyes. Many DREs also ask drivers to cross their eyes to see if they’ve been smoking marijuana. Police could potentially use all of the data from these tests against a DUI suspect.

Just remember that even if you’re on the state’s medical-marijuana program, you’ll face the same DUI penalties if police detect ANY THC in your bloodstream.

FYI: Missouri drivers have the right to call an attorney 20 minutes before taking any DUI-related tests. Plus, even if you submit tests to responding officers, you can request a second test from the following:

  • Physician
  • Technician
  • Chemist
  • Registered nurse

 

Can You Decline A Drug Test For Cannabis In Missouri?

 

Section 577.020 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri says that anyone who drives a vehicle has already consented to submit a chemical test to law enforcement. As long as police have a justifiable cause to pull you over—or you’re in line at a scheduled DUI checkpoint—you must submit to a chemical trial. This test is typically done on a breathalyzer machine, but it may include a blood sample, saliva swab, or urinalysis. Drivers who don’t comply with this test face a one-year revocation on their driver’s license. Remember, if you have questions about what to do during a traffic stop in Missouri, please contact a licensed attorney who can give you legal advice.

Unlike searching a residence, police don’t need a warrant to search your vehicle if they have a solid reason to assume you’ve been smoking pot. A few common factors that are permissible for probable cause include:

  • Traces of cannabis in your car.
  • The scent of marijuana.
  • Your answers to an officer’s questions.

 

What Happens After A First-Time Missouri DUI?

 

Determining the specific fines or jail time in a DUI case depends on many factors, including whether anyone was injured and how high your BAC was, and many other factors. However, 577.010 of Missouri’s Revised Statutes defines a standard first-time DUI offense as a class B misdemeanor. This penalty carries a max fine of $500, a 30-day license suspension, and a max jail time of six months. It’s also likely that your car will be towed and impounded, and you’ll probably have to miss work to attend multiple hearings. If you were convicted of a THC offense, you will also have to go through a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program. Every case is different, and even first-time offenders will benefit from expert legal advice.

 

What Happens After Multiple DUIs In Missouri?

 

Typically, a second DUI conviction in Missouri within five years of the previous DUI is a class A misdemeanor. In this case, you will have to stay in prison for at least ten days. At most, second-time DUI offenders will face one year in prison (with possible two-year probation) and $1,000 in fines. Missouri law also allows for a license suspension of up to five years.

The third time Missouri drivers are charged with a DUI, they will face felony charges—class D, to be specific. In this scenario, drivers may have to pay a fine of $5,000, lose their license for three years, and stay in jail for four years. Even if the jail sentence gets “suspended,” third-time DUI offenders must perform 60 days of community service.

 

Bottom Line: Don’t Drive High In Missouri

 

The Show-Me State has little leniency for DUI offenses, especially when they involve THC. Missourians who have any THC in their bloodstream will face severe and costly DUI penalties anywhere in the state. It doesn’t matter if you’re on Missouri’s MMJ program; this Midwestern State has a zero-tolerance policy for THC while driving. A first time DUI could cost up $8,000 including fines, fees and legal expenses. Everyone living in Missouri should take these laws seriously.

If you’re a cannabis consumer concerned about potential DUI charges is Missouri please click here to learn how reepher pays up to $15,000 in cannabis DUI expenses.