Local Business News: Missouri Marijuana Laws 2022

By Laura Dowling, SPHR on Nov 09, 2022
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Residents in Missouri decided on another statewide marijuana legislative change on Election Night 2022. Voters passed Amendment 3 yesterday 53% to 47%, which would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years of age and over.  Four years ago, Missouri residents cast their votes for Amendment 2, legalizing medical marijuana in the state with 65% in favor.

This wasn't a big surprise. Ahead of Election Day, a SurveyUSA poll found 62% of Missourians support legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over. 

Missouri wasn’t alone. Voters in four other states also decided whether or not recreational marijuana should be legal in their states. These states include Arkansas, Maryland, North Dakota and South Dakota. Out of the five, Maryland and Missouri were the only two states where voters passed the Amendment to legalize recreational marijuana.  

Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in 21 states plus the District of Columbia. When it comes to medical marijuana, a staggering 37 states have legalized its use. However, with three out of five ballot measures failing this election, after seeing momentum in favor of legalization for years, some speculate we may be reaching the limit

Here’s a deeper look at the current Missouri marijuana laws, along with details on Amendment 3.


Table of Contents

1.   Current Marijuana Laws in Missouri

1.1 Recreational Marijuana in Missouri

1.2 Medical Marijuana in Missouri

2.  What Legal Marijuana in Missouri Means for Employers

3.  What Kansas Employers Need to Know


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Current Marijuana Laws in Missouri

Recreational Marijuana in Missouri

Recently passed, Amendment 3 legalizes recreational marijuana, among other things. According to FOX 2 St. Louis, Amendment 3 appeared on the ballot as follows and makes the following changes to the Missouri constitution:

“Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to:

  • remove state prohibitions on purchasing, possessing, consuming, using, delivering, manufacturing, and selling marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of twenty-one;
  • require a registration card for personal cultivation with prescribed limits;
  • allow persons with certain marijuana-related non-violent offenses to petition for release from incarceration or parole and probation and have records expunged;
  • establish a lottery selection process to award licenses and certificates;
  • issue equally distributed licenses to each congressional district; and
  • impose a 6% tax on the retail price of marijuana to benefit various programs?

State governmental entities estimate initial costs of $3.1 million, initial revenues of at least $7.9 million, annual costs of $5.5 million, and annual revenues of at least $40.8 million. Local governments are estimated to have annual costs of at least $35,000 and annual revenues of at least $13.8 million.”

What's next? Amendment 3 will likely take effect on December 8, 2022, with current dispensaries receiving licenses to become comprehensive dispensary facilities as early as February 6, 2023.  

RELATED: How Kansas City's Opioid Surge May Impact Employers >>

medical marijuana missouri

Medical Marijuana in Missouri

Medical marijuana became legal in Missouri when Amendment 2 passed by a wide margin in 2018. The Amendment allows 102 dispensaries to be permitted in the state over time. Almost two years later, the state’s first dispensary opened. By May 2021, 97,315 medical marijuana patient applications and 24,062 grow licenses had been approved by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. 

Fast forward to December 2021, when, according to US News, medical marijuana sales in Missouri topped $200 million. What’s more, just 14 months after medical marijuana sales began, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said 158,169 patients were active in the state’s program plus an additional 3,283 caregivers.  

RELATED: How Kansas City's Opioid Surge May Impact Employers >>

Missouri residents who have medical marijuana cards from the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services may purchase at least four ounces of cannabis from dispensaries each month and grow up to six marijuana plants at home. 

After receiving a physician’s certification, DHSS may issue cards to patients who have these medical conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Migraines that don’t respond to other treatment
  • Terminal illness
  • Certain chronic medical conditions
  • Debilitating psychiatric disorders

RELATED: Eight Things Employers Need to Know in the Era of Legal Marijuana >>

What Legal Marijuana in Missouri Means for Employers

For Missouri businesses, the change in laws means employees using marijuana could be doing so legally. Here’s what employers should know about impairment at work, drug testing policies, drug testing precautions, discrimination and accommodations.

Use and Impairment at Work

Neither Amendments 2 or 3, nor any other state or federal law, mandate that an employer must allow employees to use medical or recreational marijuana in the workplace nor are employers required to allow impaired employees to work – even if that employee holds a DHSS medical marijuana card.

Workplace Drug Testing Policies

Under current law, employers are not prevented from continuing to have workplace drug testing policies or disciplining or terminating employees who test positive. Therefore, employers may continue to conduct employee or job candidate drug testing and maintain drug-free workplace policies. If an employee works, or attempts to work, under the influence of marijuana, employers are still allowed to discipline or even discharge the employee.

However, with the passage of Amendment 3, certain discrimination protections will take effect that protects holders of medical marijuana cards, but not recreational users. You can read more in this section >>

workplace drug testing policy

Drug Testing Precautions

THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis that creates a “high,” can remain in a person’s system for a long time. Medical sources differ somewhat on the detection windows, but generally agree that weed remains detectable for five to 10 days in occasional users’ blood, urine and hair. For medical marijuana patients, who likely use the drug more regularly, marijuana could be detectable for 30 days or more.

This may be a reason for employers to postpone disciplinary action when an employee tests positive and instead determine whether the drug test result is connected to the lawful use of medical cannabis. Likewise, a failed drug test may no longer be a reason to avoid hiring a job candidate – at least not without discussing whether the prospective worker is an approved medical marijuana user.

RELATED: Drugs on the Job - What Employers Should Know About Opioids in the Workplace >>

Discrimination and Amendment 3

Amendment 3 prevents employers from discriminating against employees with medical marijuana cards simply because they test positive for marijuana. If the employee used, possessed or was under the influence of marijuana during working hours it negates the Amendment’s protection. 

Amendment 3 also prevents employers from discriminating against employees who:

  • Possess a card for themselves or someone in their care.
  • Lawfully use marijuana during nonworking hours and away from the worksite

However, this does not mean an employer cannot take action against an employee whose use of marijuana off-premises causes them to be unable to perform their job-related responsibilities, puts others' safety at risk or doesn't align with the qualifications required for the job.

There is no similar protection against discrimination in Amendment 3 for users of recreational marijuana.


If a Missouri employee asks for an accommodation for medical marijuana use, the employer should confirm the worker has a DHSS medical marijuana card and will adhere to all company drug policies, including refraining from marijuana use while on the job.

RELATED: Ask the Expert - Suspected Employee Drug & Alcohol Use in the Workplace >>

What Kansas Employers Need to Know

Marijuana use, both recreational and medicinal, is illegal in the state of Kansas. In fact, Kansas is among only 13 states where its use is completely illegal. 

With Amendment 3 passing in Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri may become a hot spot for Kansans to cross state lines for access to recreational marijuana. However, as soon as a Kansas resident would cross back inside the state lines, they would have committed a crime. In Kansas, possession is a class B misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum $1000 fine and up to six months in prison for first-time offenders.

At Axcet HR Solutions, our human resources experts are compliance experts. For answers to your Missouri medical marijuana law questions and other HR compliance questions, visit our website today.

Human Resource Solutions: You have HR questions. We have HR services.

Written by Laura Dowling, SPHR

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