KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Marijuana enthusiasts in Missouri know what Feb. 6 signifies.
That’s when dispensaries are expected to be licensed and legal adult recreational use will go into effect in the Show-Me State. But advocates are reminding everyone about do’s and don’ts.
Missouri voters approved Amendment 3 in November to legalize marijuana use in private homes for adults 21 and over.
However, marijuana consumption in public won’t be permitted, according to Jonathan Lewis, a marijuana advocate and owner of Mo Gro solutions.
“Education is the key. Knowing how to consume or what to consume is the key,” Lewis said Monday.
Lewis actively lobbied for legal medical marijuana use in Kansas and Missouri. He believes marijuana is not a drug, but it’s medicine that can help people in pain. Lewis is a veteran who uses a prosthetic leg to walk.
While Missouri Amendment 3 permits marijuana use in private residences, it’s still against the law in parks, while walking along sidewalks, and in schools, both private and public. Marijuana consumers still can’t smoke in moving cars, and rental property owners can demand that their renters refrain from smoking.
While Lewis supports the freedom to use marijuana in private, he agrees that use in public promotes a bad stereotype.
“You don’t want to put yourself in that stereotypical area where you’re walking around like a pothead,” Lewis said. “I don’t want to be a bad habit to somebody. I don’t want a parent to look at me and say, ‘Don’t be like that guy when you grow up.’ This is not the way like it used to be in Reefer Madness.”
Lewis said he can foresee lounges in Missouri permitting pot use, but that would require rezoning in the same way hookah bars permit indoor smoke. State regulations allow police to cite public marijuana users if they choose.
Bonita Jones, a spokesperson with Kansas City’s municipal courts, said marijuana cases haven’t been filed since July 2020, when city councilmembers removed it as a violation listed in the city code.
The next milestone in Missouri’s legalization process begins on June 6, when Missouri’s Department of Health and Human Services will make applications available for smaller cannabis companies, or micro-businesses.