Marijuana is legal in Missouri but a long way from becoming readily available

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 9:41 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Voters in Missouri have decided to legalize recreational marijuana.

But there are a number of steps that need to be taken before sales begin.

“It’s a topic that’s heated with people,” said John Lopez, owner of Old Route 66 Dispensary in Springfield.

He says he wasn’t surprised the amendment passed.

“We went medical and recreational pretty quick. We’re able to implement what we want to do, strategies we wanted to use that if medical was bigger we are now able to use with recreational. It’s an exciting time,” said Lopez

But not necessarily an exciting time for police.

“There’s no benefit. There’s no funding. There’s no positivity for law enforcement in this at all,” said Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams.

He believes the new law can pose new problems.

“Every state that’s legalized recreation has seen an increase in enforcement. The availability of black market, illegal, marijuana is not going to change,” he said.

Although the law goes into effect in 30 days it will still be months before licenses to grow, cultivate, and sell are issued and products put on the shelves.

Williams said, “It doesn’t mean you can go out and buy marijuana and start smoking it tomorrow. There are lots of things that have to be in place before you can legally purchase recreational marijuana.”

In six months after the December 8, 2022, effective date the state will release applications for public licenses. It could be up to four more months before they are issued.

People 21 and older will be allowed to carry up to three ounces.

Until then you can still be cited and fined for carrying cannabis without a medical license.

Williams said, “We enforce the law we don’t make the law. Regardless of what our personal opinions might be one way or the other we’re going to do exactly what the law says we should be doing.”

He explained that smoking marijuana in public at any time is illegal.

Lopez says the new law will have a positive effect on his business.

“It’s here and I’m happy it is,” said Lopez.

The law allows for sales tax to be collected. It also requires courts to automatically forgive some non-violent marijuana crimes.

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