LEE’s SUMMIT, Mo. — The passing of Missouri’s Amendment 2 in 2018 ushered in a new set of rules for police.
That measure, which was approved by voters, legalized medical marijuana in the Show-Me State. It also introduced new laws and regulations that still confuse law enforcement officers across the state.
Workers at legal dispensaries such as Fresh Green Dispensary in Lee’s Summit know the rules. State law permits patients who qualify to carry a special identification card that shows they qualify for up to four ounces of dried unprocessed marijuana in a 30-day period.
On Wednesday, a special catchup course on Missouri’s Medical Marijuana Program attracted police officers from as many as 10 metro law enforcement agencies.
Ryan Hutton, owner of Extract-Ed, conducts educational classes for police officers. Those sessions familiarize veteran officers with laws regarding who’s permitted to possess medical marijuana, where they obtain it and how much they’re permitted to have. Hutton said some of those statutes are unfamiliar to them.
“Their entire career, marijuana has been illegal. When something this big changes, I think there’s resistance to everything. Now that we understand we work for the citizens of Missouri and this is what they want, they’re more receptive to that,” Hutton said.
Hutton’s program gets officers familiar with the identification card patients are required to carry, and what to look for when they encounter a legal medical marijuana client.
Bates City Officer Mike Hannsz said this course helped him know what to expect when conducting a routine traffic stop involving a driver who possesses medical marijuana.
“Knowledge is power,” Hannsz said. “Walking up to the car, and knowing what they can and can’t possess. Knowing what the card looks like. That’s probably the biggest thing. Its the first time I’ve seen a medical marijuana card.“
Hutton said he also presents his course to universities and police academies. One officer in attendance commented this was beneficial, but it’s barely scratching the surface of a confusing set of laws.
A number of drug agents and undercover officers were also in attendance, getting up-to-date knowledge to apply to their work.