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


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.

Pot Penalties In The Peach State — Georgia’s Cannabis DUI Laws

Although Georgians seem to be opening up to medical marijuana, this Southern state remains staunchly against recreational cannabis use. Barring any unforeseen “green revolution,” Georgia has strict guidelines against owning or using even one gram of weed. These strict marijuana laws go double for anyone who drives under the influence of cannabis. No matter how little THC you have in your bloodstream, Georgia police could charge you with a DUI.

Anyone who drives in Georgia must know the details of their state’s cannabis DUI laws. With this crucial info, you can better understand the risks of driving with THC in your body.


How Does Georgia Treat Cannabis-Related DUIs?


Georgia has a zero-tolerance policy for cannabis-related DUIs. This means there’s no minimum threshold of THC metabolites that’s “OK” in the Peach State. Unlike alcohol, Georgia police can charge drivers with a DUI if they have any detectable traces of THC.

By contrast, Georgia police define an alcohol-related DUI as an adult with a .08 percent BAC. Anyone younger than 21 with a .02 percent BAC could also face a DUI penalty.

There are no exceptions for patients who are using legal medical marijuana products. Even if you take THC for a medical condition, you will face a DUI charge if officers detect THC in your bloodstream.

All of Georgia’s DUI policies are spelled out in the state’s Motor Vehicle Code, Chapter 6, Article 15, § 40-6-391.


Is Cannabis Legal in Georgia?


Georgia has some of the nation’s toughest laws against THC-containing cannabis. Although advocates had moderate success legalizing medical marijuana for cancer patients in the 1980s, the state didn’t introduce full MMJ legislation till 2015. Under the Haleigh’s Hope Act (aka HB 1), patients with epilepsy could legally purchase low-THC cannabis oil from a registered dispensary. Since 2015, the state has expanded this law to include more qualifying conditions like PTSD, AIDS, and cancer.

Even if someone has a valid MMJ card, they can only order high-CBD oils with < 5 percent delta-9 THC. All of these cannabis products must come from a state-recognized dispensary and cannot exceed 20 oz of oil at a time. Georgia still doesn’t allow MMJ patients to cultivate cannabis at home.

As for recreational cannabis, Georgia still doesn’t allow it. People with less than one ounce of pot could face a misdemeanor charge, which carries a max fine of $1,000 and up to one year in prison. Residents with over one ounce of cannabis may have to deal with a felony charge, which carries a max fine of $5,000 and prison time as high as ten years.

However, a few large cities throughout Georgia have relaxed their stance on recreational weed in the late 2010s. For instance, Atlanta now treats marijuana possession under one ounce as a minor offense with a $75 fine. Savannah also reduced its penalty on less than one ounce of cannabis, but the fine here is $125.

Please note: Even though some of Georgia’s cities have decriminalized weed possession, that doesn’t mean weed is legal in these areas. The only difference is that penalties for petty pot possession aren’t as harsh for first-time offenders.


Do Georgia Drivers Have To Submit DUI Tests? 


GA’s Motor Vehicle Code Chapter 5, Article 3, § 40-5-55, states that everyone driving on Georgia’s roads has already agreed to take a chemical test. So, if an officer has reasonable suspicion you’re driving under the influence, they can legally request a blood, urine, or breath analysis. By law, you must comply with the officer’s request. If you don’t submit to a test, you will get your license suspended for up to one year. Your refusal to take a chemical test could also be used against you in a court of law.

Drivers in Georgia cannot ask for professional legal assistance before submitting to a chemical test. However, Georgia law allows drivers to request a second lab test from a registered physician or technician.


What’s The Penalty For A First-Time DUI In Georgia?


The penalties for a cannabis DUI are the same as an alcohol DUI. At a minimum, offenders could face a fine between $300 – $1,000 and jail time between 10 days to 12 months. Drivers found guilty of DUI will also have to attend a 20-hour drug safety course and perform 40 hours of community service.

First-time offenders also usually have to deal with a one-year suspension on their driver’s license. However, once people complete their drug education course, they can apply for license reinstatement.

Please remember these are the lowest possible issues for a first-time DUI offense. These penalties could be increased if a DUI crash involved minors, fatalities, property damage, or other similarly hazardous features.


What Happens After Multiple DUIs in Georgia? 


If a driver faces another DUI charge within ten years of their first conviction, they could face jail time of between 90 days – 12 months and a fine of $600 – $1,000. Second-time offenders may also lose their license for as much as three years and have to get an ignition interlock device. Like in first-time DUI cases, those found guilty of DUI for a second time must participate in drug education programs and community service. However, in this case, the required community service goes up to 30 days.

Georgians who get charged with a third DUI will be at risk of going to jail for between 120 days – 12 months and paying a fine of between $1,000 – $5,000. License revocation for third-time offenders increases to a max of five years. Community service and drug education programs also apply in this case.

Lastly, fourth-time DUI offenders are typically charged with a felony offense, which includes a permanent license suspension. Fines in these cases usually max out at $5,000, and jail time could be as long as five years.


Protect Yourself From DUIs In The Peach State! 


Despite Georgia’s recent foray into medical marijuana, this state shows no leniency to cannabis use or possession—especially when behind the wheel. Everyone who drives in Georgia has already tacitly agreed they won’t drive with THC in their bloodstream. Even if THC metabolites linger long after using state-recognized cannabis oils, drivers could have to deal with DUI penalties in the Peach State. Not only is a DUI charge stressful, it can wreck your finances and long-term job prospects. Drivers should always be mindful of the gravity of Georgia’s cannabis DUI statutes.


If you’re a cannabis consumer in the Peach State, consider what a reepher membership has to offer.

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. Check out our THC calculator to see how your cannabis consumption may impact your ability to pass a drug screening.

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.