KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missourians can take a step closer to being able to legally grow marijuana.

The first step is to get a personal cultivation card from the state of Missouri. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has posted a sample application and instructions on how to apply for a card.

Applicants must be at least 21 years old to apply for a card, and it will cost each applicant $100.

While the state says the sample applications are now available, Missouri won’t actually begin accepting the real applications until Feb. 6 through an online portal.

Once approved for a personal cultivation card, a person will be allowed to legally grow plants for personal use within an enclosed, locked facility at their home. The plants cannot be in view of the public, according to the state.

Each person is allowed to have six flowering marijuana plants, six nonflowering marijuana plants (over 14 inches tall), and six clones (plants under 14 inches tall) for non-commercial use. That is a total of 18 plants. The licensee cannot ever legally possess more plants than that at any time.

“The plants and any of the marijuana produced by plants in excess of 3 ounces are kept at one private residence,” health department spokesperson Lisa Cox said. “So that’s an important piece of the amendment. So they must be locked up and not just out in the open.”

Marijuana grown for personal use cannot be shared with anyone, even when living in the same house or apartment. Each person must have their own license.

The state of Missouri also has the right to check on home-grow operations. When people apply for a patient cultivation card under the medical system, they have to agree that they can make their grow available to the department upon request, according to the state.

Mitch Alexander is a licensed medical home cultivator. He’s been growing plants at home for years and said it’s harder than you think.

“It is a weed, so it’s going to grow just like any other plant. It’s easy to grow it,” Alexander said. “But to do it right it definitely takes time, patience, energy. It’s not just a walk in the park if you want to do it right for sure.”

Alexander also works at a ReLeaf Resources Dispensary in Grandview. He said come February, they’re looking at expanding into selling cultivation supplies. 

Fresh Karma Dispensaries also plans to support home growers, possibly providing seeds in stores closer to June. 

“I think it’s exciting. It doesn’t scare us. We think it’s going to prohibit us in any way in any sales or anything,” Fresh Karma marketing director Jericho Heese said. “So to be able to support those at home growers and the people who want to do that I think is very important.”

The personal cultivation application process opens two months after Missouri voters approved Amendment 3 to legalize recreational marijuana.

The state began accepting requests from dispensaries to change licenses from medical marijuana to recreational use on Dec. 8. The state said nearly all dispensaries have taken that step.

Facilities that are licensed to sell recreational marijuana can do so starting in February. The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services plans to finalize program rules by Feb. 6, and then start issuing licenses to dispensaries.

Dispensaries can begin selling marijuana for recreational use as soon as they are licensed by the state to do so.