The recent legalization of medical marijuana in Missouri was a huge win for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. However, cardholders now have a slew of legal issues to navigate, particularly when it comes to the Controlled Substances Act.
The manifest purpose of the CSA, which federally classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 controlled substance, was to curb the trafficking of drugs. Since each state’s medicinal marijuana law explicitly bans traveling with the drug across state lines, they were able to legalize the drug on some level without conflicting with the federal statute, but the staunch restrictions on a nationwide level continue.
If you’re a medical marijuana patient in Missouri, this can prove challenging if you frequently travel. You can go to a legal state, such as California or Colorado, and access their medicinal marijuana there, but you still cannot travel between states with your medicine. If you need to take it on a continued basis, you can’t wait six hours after the flight to find a dispensary to buy more medicine.
The other thing is that Missouri has more states touching it than any other state in the Union, and many have not yet legalized medical marijuana. A tremendous amount of our population lives close to another state and may regularly drive over there for work or for shopping. If they bring their medicine with them, they may get themselves in trouble.
Here in Kansas City, we frequently see people get arrested in Kansas by the Kansas Highway Patrol who, especially on I-70, like to watch people going to and from Colorado. That’s going to start happening with Missouri, too, as more patients begin using medical marijuana.
Although law enforcement can’t just pull you over because they assume you’re carrying drugs from a legal state, they can come up with another reason. It’s impossible to drive for hours completely perfectly, so if they fall within a certain demographic or drive a beat-up old car, they’re going to watch them carefully and come up with a traffic violation to pull them over for.
Ultimately, as discussed in our recent webinar with fellow attorney Annie Dupree, it’s always best to exercise caution and avoid traveling across state lines with cannabis. However, with so many conflicting laws among neighboring states, mistakes can and do happen. If you find yourself facing cannabis-related charges in Missouri, please contact an attorney immediately.