One of the common questions by Missouri medical marijuana patients and caregivers is, “can caregivers sell to dispensaries in Missouri?”
This question is not particularly unusual when you consider that some weed legal states, such as Maine, allow caregivers to set up small cannabis shops and sell marijuana to other caregivers, dispensaries, and weed processing facilities.
But is this possible in the Show-Me State? Can caregivers sell to dispensaries in Missouri?
Missouri dispensary laws and Missouri cultivation license rules do not provide any caregiver rules that use precise language to carefully address the subject, which leaves patients and caregivers confused about the legality of caregivers selling excess cannabis harvest to dispensaries.
Today, we’ll answer this question and provide clearer details on the legalities and factors relevant to the caregiver-dispensary relationship.
Who is an MMJ Caregiver in Missouri?
A medical marijuana caregiver in Missouri is an individual that a qualifying patient and the state authorizes to purchase and possess marijuana on the given patient’s behalf.
Such individuals can only start a Missouri caregiver application if they are residing in Missouri and have a valid Missouri identification card.
In most cases, a primary caregiver’s job often borders on helping the patient buy medical marijuana at the local dispensary and administering it.
However, in some instances, a patient may want their primary caregiver to help them grow medical marijuana. In this case, the caregiver must then obtain a cultivation permit or card.
A caregiver can obtain cultivation licenses to grow weed for up to three patients.
According to Missouri patient cultivation card rules, the state reserves the right to deny a caregiver’s application after a background check or revoke a caregiver’s cultivation license when they break the rules.
Due to any number of events, a caregiver might feel they have excess marijuana at hand and might contemplate selling them to a dispensary. Hence, the lingering question we are addressing today.
So, let’s dive into the relevant cultivation license rules that address the subject matter.
Can Caregivers Sell to Dispensaries in Missouri?
NO, caregivers cannot sell to dispensaries in Missouri.
The state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) did not create any window for caregivers to sell cannabis to dispensaries, or anyone for that matter.
The absence of clear laws in that regard only creates room for Missourians to reach a safe conclusion that it is illegal for a patient or caregiver with a cultivation license to sell to dispensaries or cannabis processing facilities.
We can assume that, knowing the limited amount of marijuana that the state allows any MMJ caregiver in Missouri to grow, there was no imagination that caregivers would legitimately have excess marijuana to sell.
Hence, medical cannabis policymakers did not make room for such scenarios while drafting the state’s medical marijuana regulations.
Additionally, various pointers from the DHSS regulation indicate that caregivers cannot give medical marijuana to individuals other than the patients under their care.
Let’s take a look at some Missouri caregiver rules that address this situation.
Missouri Medical Marijuana Caregiver Rules You Should Know
For any Missouri MMJ caregiver who intends to stay on the good side of the law, there are a few Missouri caregiver rules that can help you better navigate the Missouri medical cannabis industry.
Missouri Dispensary Laws
While the Missouri dispensary laws target the dispensary activities as well as that of other cannabis facilities, some parts of these laws address the relationship between an MMJ caregiver in Missouri and a Missouri dispensary.
Article 19, Section 9 of the DHSS Regulations and Licensure, titled Disposal of Qualifying Patient Medical Marijuana, is one section that best answers the question at hand; Can caregivers sell to dispensaries in Missouri?
Below are relevant excerpts from the section:
- In any case that a patient has excess medical marijuana or no longer needs medical marijuana, then the marijuana in the patient’s or caregiver’s possession “…shall be turned over to a licensed dispensary for disposal within thirty (30) days…”
- The section goes ahead to dictate clear Missouri medical marijuana caregiver rules for turning over the excess marijuana, stating that:
- the primary caregiver “…must contact the department, and the department will coordinate delivery arrangements between the individual and a dispensary.”
- the primary caregiver “…shall receive from the department written, temporary authorization to transport medical marijuana, which shall include details regarding the delivery arrangements approved by the department.”
- The section provides Missouri caregiver rules to protect the MMJ caregiver involved in the process from any form of arrest or legal actions for transporting cannabis, stating that:
- “The possession and transportation of medical marijuana under this section shall not subject the possessor to arrest, criminal or civil liability, or sanctions under Missouri law, provided that the possessor produces on demand to the appropriate authority a copy of the temporary authorization for transport or evidence of communication with the department regarding delivery arrangements.”
Implications of These Missouri Medical Marijuana Caregiver Rules
This section makes it clear that if medical cannabis is to be transferred from a caregiver, patient, or individual to a dispensary, it would be for the purpose of disposal.
There would be no monetary exchange in the process, and the state would not consider it a gift either.
DHSS simply facilitates the transfer of marijuana from the caregiver to the dispensary. And the regulatory authority would see any other exchange that does not follow the stated process as illegal.
Missouri Cultivation License Rules for MMJ Caregivers in Missouri
Aside from the Missouri dispensary laws addressing this subject matter, the Missouri cultivation license rules also address it, although in a less direct manner.
The law makes it clear that a caregiver cannot grow cannabis on behalf of a patient without first applying and obtaining a cultivation license to grow medical marijuana on behalf of the patient.
And just as with possessing medical marijuana on behalf of a patient, the primary caregiver must label the plants to indicate they are being grown for a given patient.
Similarly, an individual who serves as a primary caregiver for three qualifying patients must ensure that “all cultivated flowering marijuana plants in the possession of a qualifying patient or primary caregiver shall be clearly labeled with the qualifying patient’s name.”
The DHSS aims to ensure that primary caregivers do not at any point “sell” or give away marijuana grown for medical purposes to patients, individuals, or establishments at any given time.
Any medical marijuana that a caregiver grows for a patient must be strictly reserved for the said patient and can only be transferred to a dispensary for the purpose of disposal.
The Complete Breakdown of Missouri Medical Marijuana Caregiver Rule
As a caregiver, it is important to note that:
- You can apply to be a caregiver via the Missouri Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP) online portal.
- You must be 21 years or older to be a caregiver and obtain a cultivation license.
- To qualify as a primary caregiver for a child under age 18, you must be their parent or legal guardian.
- You can only obtain authorization for cultivating medical marijuana if the qualifying patient gives you the authority to do so.
- You cannot use the medical marijuana you grow on behalf of a patient. If you want to grow medical marijuana for your personal use, you will need to get a medical marijuana card in your name and a cultivation license for yourself.
- You cannot cultivate marijuana for a patient who has a valid cultivation license. If the patient has a cultivation license, they would have to write to the state to revoke it, after which you can obtain a cultivation license on their behalf.
- You can be a primary caregiver to up to three patients and equally have a cultivation license for all three patients.
- You cannot be a caregiver to a patient that already has two other caregivers.
- For each patient’s cultivation permit, you are allowed to grow up to six flowering plants, six non-flowering plants, and six clones.
Why Caregivers Can’t Sell to Dispensaries
The Missouri medical marijuana program operates on very tight regulations to ensure that Missouri patients get the best medical marijuana in the country.
The medical marijuana flowers and medical marijuana-infused products you may find at your local marijuana dispensaries are subjected to various tests at various stages to ensure that only the best gets to the counter.
The state mandates that dispensaries acquire seeds and other forms of medical marijuana products only from licensed cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities.
Also, the state runs a seed-to-sale tracking system, which aims to monitor every marijuana grown by state-licensed facilities from the seed phase to the point of sale at the dispensary while also keeping track to ensure that patients and caregivers stay within their allotted monthly possession limits.
These measures are instrumental in ensuring that Missouri marijuana is of top quality always.
Although DHSS may inspect a caregiver’s cultivation facility at some point, the inspection standards are not always on the same level as those conducted on large cultivation facilities.
And primary caregivers often do not have the capacity to follow high cultivation and quality assurance standard while growing their weed.
Consequently, even though the cannabis seeds they obtained from a dispensary or seed bank may be of high quality, the resulting cannabis plant and cannabis flower are not likely to meet all the industry standards.
With that in mind, the state would rather help the caregiver dispose of the excess marijuana than introduce it into the system.
Elevate Holistics: Missouri’s Top Choice for Telehealth
At Elevate Holistics, we have helped thousands of Missouri patients get their medical cards at the most affordable rates while in the comfort of their homes.
By easily qualifying patients for medical marijuana, they are able to go ahead and approve caregivers who can purchase or possess medical marijuana on their behalf.
And if needed, the caregivers can obtain a cultivation license and grow marijuana on their behalf.
We understand that there are various degrees to which conditions can impact patients. Hence, we make it a principle to simplify every step of medical marijuana licensing at the most affordable rates in Missouri, with hopes of easing patients’ burdens.