Medical marijuana passes in Missouri, but what's next?

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Several doctors offices and clinics in the Springfield area say they've already received calls from patients wanting the prescription card to get medical marijuana after voters approved a constitutional amendment last night.

"All they have to do is go to their normal doctor, have their doctor certify that they have a condition that's covered under our law, they send that certification in to the department of health, the department of health issues them a patient card, they take that patient card to a dispensary and get their medicine," said Chip Sheppard, a board member for New Approach Missouri.

But before patients with cancer, PTSD, epilepsy, and other debilitating illness and conditions are able to get that medicinal marijuana, the Department of Health and Senior Services has to make their list of rules and guidelines.

"The first thing they really have to do is try to prepare applications for people who want to be licences in the business as cultivators, manufacturers, or dispensary holders, transportation companies, those types of entities," Sheppard said.

The DHSS can start to do that once the election results are certified and Amendment 2 becomes law.

The Secretary of State's office believes that will be by December 6th.

The Department of Health will then have until June to get those regulations in order.

But, it might be at least six months after that until patients can get their first prescription for marijuana.

"There's a timetable set up in the constitutional amendment when the Department of Health has to take certain actions," Sheppard said. "That all culminates with the earliest date of product, medicine, to actually be available to patients probably December of next year. SO, we're probably 13 months away, 14, realistically 14-15 months away. There's a lot for the Department of Health to do."

The recreational use of marijuana will still be illegal in Missouri.

Cox Health and Mercy both provided statements to KY3/KSPR's Andrew Havranek.

Cox Health: In light of yesterday’s election results, CoxHealth staff will begin developing protocols that account for changes in Missouri law regarding marijuana use in outpatient treatment. After the law takes effect, it will be up to physicians to weigh pros and cons for its use before writing a prescription, as is the case with any medication.

Mercy: With Amendment 2 approved by Missouri voters, the state must now work to establish an infrastructure for dispensing of medical marijuana. When that infrastructure is in place, Mercy will follow the law while keeping the highest priority on patient safety and quality care. Mercy physicians and patients will work together to decide what treatment options are appropriate for the patient’s medical condition, as is the case with any mode of treatment.