KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Amendment 3, legalizing marijuana use for those 21 and up, goes into effect in Missouri on Thursday, Dec. 8, but adults can’t just walk into a dispensary and buy marijuana, at least not yet.

Beginning Dec. 8, adults in the state will be allowed to legally possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana, according to Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services, the agency that manages the marijuana program.

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While adults can legally possess a small amount of the drug, they can’t buy it in a licensed dispensary without a medical marijuana card until sometime next year.

Comprehensive Licenses

Dispensaries in Missouri who want to sell to anyone 21 years and older need to have a comprehensive license.

The department will begin accepting requests from established dispensaries on Dec. 8. The department then has 60 days to approve each request.

Information about how to submit for a conversion update is available on the DHSS website.

Differences between medical and adult use

While it will be legal for anyone age 21 and older to have up to 3 ounces of marijuana starting Dec. 8, there are some differences for anyone who holds a medical marijuana card.

Patients with a card are allowed 6 ounces of marijuana, or more based on a physician recommendation, within a 30-day period. It will be taxed at 4%.

Recreational marijuana users can buy up to 3 ounces at a time. It will be taxed at 6%, plus any local taxes that apply.

Personal Cultivation

Missourians 21 and older will soon be able to legally grow their own marijuana, but it’s not as simple as planting a few seeds.

You will need to apply and receive a personal cultivation card. The card allows up to six flowering plants, six nonflowering plants and six clone plants. The cards are valid for one year and are expected to have an annual fee of $150.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will begin accepting applications for person cultivation cards as soon as Feb. 6, 2023.

Decriminalization Provisions

When marijuana is legalized in Missouri, it will also create an avenue for some nonviolent offenders currently serving sentences related to marijuana possession to petition to vacate the sentence and an expungement of their records.

Aside from Amendment 3, President Joe Biden announced in October he’d pardon federal convictions for simple marijuana possession. At the time, a spokesperson for Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s office indicated the governor did not plan to follow the president at the state level.