Missourians recently voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by passing an amendment to the Missouri Constitution. What does this mean for you or your friends?
When you can roll
The amendment takes effect on December 8, 2022, but you won’t be able to legally purchase marijuana from a licensed dispensary until February 6, 2023.
How to use
After February 6, Missourians will be able to purchase and possess up to 3 ounces (roughly 85 grams) of marijuana for recreational use.
Smoking weed is still prohibited wherever smoking is prohibited. Smoking in a non-designated area will result in a civil (not criminal) fine of no more than $100. Consuming or possessing marijuana on school property is also prohibited. This includes college campuses.
Driving, boating, flying, or operating a carnival ride under the influence of marijuana remains illegal. Current Missouri law does not articulate a specific level of impairment for operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, and the amendment does not either. The best legal advice is if you consume any amount of marijuana, do not operate a car, plane, boat, nor time machine.
Possessing more than the 3-ounce limit or providing marijuana to a person under the age of 21 can lead to civil penalties or a criminal charge.
The amendment also includes a provision allowing for the expungement of certain marijuana convictions. Expungement works differently if the individual is currently incarcerated, under probation or parole, or neither. In addition, expungement does not include violent offenses, DWIs from operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, nor selling marijuana to a minor.
A Missourian with a previous marijuana conviction that is not currently in jail, prison, or a halfway house, nor on probation or parole will have that conviction automatically expunged. If the previous charge was a misdemeanor, expungement should take place by June 8, 2023. If the previous charge was a felony, expungement should take place by December 8, 2023.
A Missourian with a previous marijuana conviction that is currently on probation or parole will have that sentence automatically vacated on December 8, 2022. Expungement should also automatically occur on the same dates as stated before: June 8, 2023, for misdemeanors, and December 8, 2023, for felonies.
A Missouri that is currently incarcerated for a marijuana conviction in jail, prison, or a halfway house must petition the court to vacate his or her sentence, and order for immediate release from incarceration and any other supervision. Additionally, that individual must petition the court for the expungement of all records of the case. Petitions to released should be processed by March 8, 2023, for misdemeanors, and felonies should be processed by September 8, 2023.
Written by Marcus Clouse, Associate Attorney of Law at The Law Office of Adam Woody
If you or somebody you know needs help petitioning for expungement or believe you have wrongly been denied expungement for a marijuana conviction, contact the Law Office of Adam Woody at 417-720-4800.