Marijuana Legalization | St. Louis Public Radio

Marijuana Legalization

Cannabis plants grow under orange sodium lights in a medical marijuana cultivation facility in Oakland, California.
Rusty Blazenhoff | Flickr

The campaign to put recreational marijuana on the 2020 Missouri ballot is over. Organizers with Missourians for a New Approach said COVID-19 is to blame.

Stay-at-home orders prevented the grassroots effort from gathering the petition signatures it needed for a statewide vote in November. The proposed amendment would have legalized adult-use recreational marijuana and expunged low-level marijuana convictions. 

Have a question about legal marijuana in Illinois or medical marijuana in Missouri? Ask here, and we'll update this guide with answers as we report them out.
Eric Schmid | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Feb. 3 with more answers to reader questions —

2020 will be a year of new marijuana laws. Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana on Jan. 1, six years after Colorado first started recreational sales. Missouri begins medical marijuana sales later in the year — likely this spring — and thousands of residents have already received certification cards.

With totally different laws in the neighboring states, there’s an understandable level of confusion among residents: Why is it easier to get medical marijuana in Missouri than in Illinois? Where can you consume cannabis products legally? How much will marijuana cost at dispensaries? And with the ease of traveling between Missouri and Illinois in the St. Louis region, what are the rules about bringing weed across state lines?

Legal Marijuana Sales Start In Collinsville And Across Illinois

Jan 1, 2020
Long lines at the Collinsville dispensary greeted the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in Illinois.
Belleville News-Democrat

COLLINSVILLE — The first day of 2020 has been highly anticipated for many — from baby boomers who remember smoking pot before the government declared the drug wasn’t safe to Medicaid patients who have waited to use cannabis for pain management in place of pills.

It is the first time anyone 21 years old or older can legally buy marijuana in Illinois, the 11th state to legalize weed for people other than medical cannabis patients.

Are Police In Southern Illinois Ready For 'The Great Unknown' Of Legal Marijuana?

Dec 27, 2019
police lights
essygie | Flickr

New laws allowing recreational use of cannabis in Illinois are explicit in their parameters, but local law enforcement agencies are grappling with what one officer called “the great unknown” when it comes to enforcement.

Illinois Supply and Provisions in Collinsville sold $5 million of recreational marijuana in January. The dispensary accounted for 13.6% of sales in Illinois.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration acknowledges that the war on cannabis disproportionately affects low-income communities of color. 

State officials are now taking steps to ensure those who’ve been negatively impacted have a leg up when Illinois legalizes adult-use cannabis in 2020.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released a map earlier this week highlighting the parts of the state hardest hit by the criminalization of cannabis. 

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has awarded licenses to 192 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

With the deadline to submit an application for a medical marijuana business closed, more than 2,100 were received, bringing in more than $5.3 million in fees, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. 

On Thursday, the department announced it would extend the deadline to 4:30 p.m. Monday. Initially the cutoff was midnight Saturday, but with a slow start early in the application period, the department expected an influx toward the end. 

Amanda Vinicky is a correspondent for WTTW in Chicago.
Matthew Penning

Earlier this week, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation that will soon make recreational marijuana legal in the state. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, and makes Illinois the 11th state to allow recreational use.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann went behind the headlines on the news with Amanda Vinicky of Chicago public media outlet WTTW.

They discussed the leadup to the legislation, what makes Illinois’ route to legalization distinctive and what it all means for citizens.

peter.a photography | Flickr

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said it will distribute 338 licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana. The number is far less than the 510 hopefuls who have already paid application fees with hopes of receiving a license.

These licenses are for different aspects of the medical marijuana pipeline: 60 to cultivate marijuana, 192 to dispense and 86 to manufacture marijuana-infused products.

Even though the number of licenses to be issued is the minimum of what the law allows, a report from University of Missouri economists indicates that might be too much based on demand in other states with similar laws.