Medical marijuana legalization may necessitate code changes for cities

Updated: Mar 27, 2019

In November 2018, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that creates Article XIV, Section 1, “Right to Access Medical Marijuana.” This legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes has created an incredibly competitive industry as scores of entrepreneurs compete for limited State licenses and attempt to enter the “marijuana industry.” Local governments must also prepare for this new industry. While Cities are limited in doing so, they can enact ordinances regarding medical marijuana. However, such ordinances must be consistent with the Constitutional Amendment and any rules and regulations issued by the Department of Health and Senior Services for the State of Missouri, and cannot be an outright or constructive ban on medical marijuana businesses. As the Constitutional Amendment creates an entirely new industry and legalizes a wide range of activity that was illegal just months ago, City Codes could require updates in areas such as zoning, business licensure, and general offenses (e.g. possession of marijuana). City policies may also require adjustment in light of this change in law. If you have any questions about these matters, please contact your City Attorney or Justin Harmon at justin@municipalfirm.com.

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