In approximately 20 states, an individual is legally permitted to possess and use marijuana for limited, medical purposes. Currently, neither Kansas nor Missouri permit the use of medical marijuana, but a concern arises when a resident of another state comes to either Kansas or Missouri and is found to have the drug for medical reasons.
Each state is different, but there are policies in place related to how law enforcement officers must approach this issue. In general, medical marijuana cards from other states, like California, will not protect drivers in Kansas or Missouri from being charged with a crime. Individuals who are lawfully allowed in their home state to possess and use marijuana for medical purposes must not bring the drug into Kansas or Missouri without facing charges of possession and other related charges.
Marijuana possession laws are quite strict in both Kansas and Missouri. In Kansas, if you are found to be in violation of the state's possession laws (for any reason), you will typically be charged with a misdemeanor or felony depending on whether you have had prior convictions. A first time conviction can lead to a jail sentence of as much as one year and fine for an amount up to $2,5000.
In Missouri, if an individual violates the state law, and is in possession of not more than 35 grams of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid, he or she will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This offense is punishable by a fine for no more than $1,000 and up to one year imprisonment.
It's also good to know that even if you live in a state that allows for medical marijuana use, the license, or card, you were given will not normally protect you in other states that allow the drug for medical reasons. Each state has different guidelines.
According to United Patients Group, there are certain things people should remember when they are traveling and are considering bringing their medical marijuana with them on their out-of-state travels:
(1) States without medical marijuana laws can arrest patients under possession laws, even if the patient is registered in their home state;
(2) Federal authorities can arrest patients under federal drug trafficking laws if medical marijuana crosses state lines;
(3) In states that recognize medical marijuana cards issued by the person's home state, the person will likely still need to register in the state that they are visiting and acquire any medical marijuana needed there, rather than bringing the substance with them; and
(4) If a person chooses to bring their own medical marijuana with them, he or she should make sure that the states border each other. This will ensure that you are not traveling across another state where medical marijuana is illegal.
Furthermore, you method of transportation is an important consideration, too. If you plan on flying, keep in mind that federal authorities do not recognize medical marijuana laws or cards from any state. This means that even though you have permission from your home state and a note from your doctor, you can still be detained or arrested at an airport for having medical marijuana.
What do you think of current Missouri and Kansas laws? Both states have had proposals recommending that laws change in order to permit medical marijuana and recognize cards from other states. Would updated laws help or hurt?