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The 2018 passing of Missouri Constitutional Amendment No. 2 has given Missouri residents the constitutional right to cultivate, purchase, possess, and consume medical marijuana for the treatment of an assortment of illnesses and chronic conditions.
But what's this mean for a patient's friends and family? Do the same legal protections apply? Not everyone can head down to the dispensary, after all.
Regrettably, a medical patient's friends and family don't quite have the same marijuana rights. They’re not able to buy or farm marijuana unless they personally have a marijuana license.
However, there is one exception.
That is: marijuana caregivers, who are permitted to buy, plant, own, and dispense medical marijuana for up to three marijuana patients.
But how does one become a caregiver in Missouri?
What is a Medical Marijuana Caregiver?
You may be wondering, what exactly is a medical marijuana caregiver? It's actually really simple. A caregiver is someone authorized to buy, possess, cultivate, and dispense medicinal cannabis to up to three medical patients. At the end of the day, not every patient in Missouri is physically able to procure their own medical marijuana. Many could be bedridden, hospitalized, or otherwise debilitated to such a degree by their chronic conditions that they wouldn't, for example, be able to drive themselves to a dispensary. However, this problem could be solved by a licensed caregiver. They would be able to go to a dispensary or even cultivate marijuana plants for those patients who may have difficulty doing so.
In Missouri, there are a few terms necessary to qualify:
- Caregivers must be 21 or older.
- Caregivers must be directly designated on their patient's MMJ application.
- Caregivers must be someone responsible for tending to the care and well-being of the designated medical patients.
Missouri's Guidelines for Medical Marijuana Caregivers and Their Patients
The Missouri Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has a few guidelines regarding who can and cannot become medical marijuana caregivers. So what, then, are the Missouri caregiver laws?
Under Amendment 2, caregivers can exercise nearly all the same rights as their fully-licensed counterparts. The possession limits for both cultivating and non-cultivating caregivers are the same as medical patients. Caregivers can deliver medicinal cannabis to a maximum of three patients, and they're constitutionally entitled to grow the same number of marijuana plants.
However, caregivers who wish to grow medical marijuana should keep in mind that DHSS requires them to obtain a separate cultivation license alongside their caregiver license. Not only that but the DHSS will only issue one cultivation license for a qualifying caregiver-patient combo. Meaning a caregiver will not receive a cultivation license if their designated patient(s) has one already and vice versa. The cultivation license costs $100.
As is the case in many other states, Missouri caregivers are not allowed to use medical marijuana unless they personally have a medical marijuana license issued in their name.
Missouri's Requirements to Qualify as a Caregiver
The DHSS stipulates that to qualify as a medical marijuana caregiver, you must be:
- 21 or older,
- be someone responsible for the medical care of the patient in question, and
- be listed on a signed patient authorization form included with their medical marijuana application.
Patients do, however, have the option of adding a caregiver to their patient ID after having submitted an original application, so long as they provide a valid patient authorization form to the DHSS.
The DHSS also mandates that every medical patient under the age of 18 have a designated marijuana caregiver. In the state of Missouri, medical marijuana patients cannot legally purchase or cultivate marijuana if they're a minor. A legal caregiver, usually a parent or legal guardian, must do it for them, and they must be qualified to be a caregiver per the rules above.
Missouri medical marijuana caregiver IDs are valid for 12 months. Caregivers can renew their caregiver IDs anytime within 30-60 days of their expiration date. Otherwise, they'll have to fill out and submit another application.
How Caregivers Buy or Cultivate Marijuana for Their Patients in Missouri
When it comes to restrictions for buying and farming marijuana, caregivers have nearly the same rights as their fully-licensed medical patient counterparts. When buying medical marijuana at a dispensary or clinic, Missouri caregivers follow the same guidelines as medical patients.
To purchase medical marijuana, they only need to show their valid medical caregiver license. Nevertheless, caregivers cannot, under any circumstances, use medical marijuana that is dispensed on behalf of their medical patients. If, however, they have their own medical ID, caregivers are legally allowed to use medical marijuana that is dispensed in their own name.
When it comes to the cultivation of medical marijuana there is one important restriction caregivers and patients must consider. Only one cultivation license will be issued per caregiver-patient pair. That means a medical patient cannot receive their cultivation license if their caregiver has one already and vice versa. And unlike some other states, Missouri allows its caregivers to be licensed for up to three medical patients. If such a caregiver has their cultivation license, the DHSS will not issue cultivation licenses for any of their three patients.
A caregiver can plant up to 18 plants per patient, but these 18 plants must be divided into three groups of 6 clones, 6 immature plants, and 6 flowering plants. So while it is possible to have 18 medical marijuana plants, none of the three groups can exceed this limit of 6 individual plants per type. Not only that, but a caregiver is allowed 18 plants for themselves if they personally have their own medical marijuana ID. Therefore, a Missouri caregiver can, in theory, have a total of 72 medical marijuana plants, so long as the clone, nonflowering, and flowering limits per patient stay within the state guidelines.
How to Fill Out Missouri’s Caregiver Application
Filing out the Missouri medical marijuana caregiver application is very easy. The Medical Caregiver application is located in the same DHSS Medical Marijuana portal as the Medical Patient Application. Simply create an account and fill out the "new caregiver registration."
Keep in mind, you'll need to upload the following to submit your application:
- Colorized Photo of your Face
- Copy of Missouri Driver's License or State ID
- Copy of Your Patient's Signed DHSS Authorization Form
- Proof of Legal Guardianship (if your patient is a minor)
If you're planning on cultivating for your patients, you also must provide a "written description of the patient cultivation facility security arrangements and processes." But don't sweat it, the sections to do so are provided on the application itself.
Then pay the $25 application fee and submit. Remember that an extra $100 will be requested if you apply for a cultivation license.
After submitting, you can expect to hear back from the DHSS within 30 days. You'll receive an email with either your approval or rejection, in which you'll have 10 days to make any necessary corrections/changes to your application if it's been rejected.
How Much Does the Missouri Caregiver Application Cost?
In the state of Missouri, the medical marijuana caregiver application costs $25. If you are applying for your cultivation license at the same time, the total cost will be $125, considering the cultivation application costs $100.
You'll Need an MMJ Patient ID, NuggMD Can Help
The first step in the Missouri MMJ application process is receiving a medical marijuana certification from a state-licensed doctor.
But wait, the DHSS doesn't provide any list of the doctors who are willing or able to conduct these medical marijuana evaluations. So, you may be asking, how am I supposed to get my marijuana certification?
Well, that's where NuggMD comes in. Using the NuggMD telemedicine platform is the easiest and most stress free way to receive your medical marijuana evaluation. All it takes is 15 minutes, and you'll be face-to-face with a Missouri-licensed marijuana doctor using our video chat service. They'll conduct a meticulous and humane marijuana evaluation and issue their medical certification via email. Best of all, you'll never have to leave the comfort of your own home.
And hey, our NuggMD customer service team will always be available to guide you through the whole Missouri patient ID application process. If you get lost or confused at any point, just reach out to our world-class team at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.