Throughout the years of marijuana prohibition, the state of Missouri has handed down some of the most severe sentences to marijuana offenders in the United States. Possessing any amount could result in a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in prison and hefty fines.

Missouri is keeping up with the changing times, though. In July 2014, Governor Nixon, signed the bill for a new law that allows epilepsy patients to use cannabis oil for medicinal treatment. It includes specific guidelines regulating the cultivation of the cannabis as well as the production of the oil. The levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannbinol (THC) for each plant will be tested to ensure a consistent product. Plants may contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, and must be high in CBD. The THC is the cannabinoid in cannabis known to have psychoactive properties, whereas the CBD is known more for it’s medicinal value.

Now, applications to cultivate cannabis and produce high cannabidiol (CBD) oil are available through the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Completed applications may be submitted beginning November 3, 2014, and submissions will be accepted for thirty days.

Only two applicants will be granted licenses to cultivate and produce. The facilities must operate as a non-profit organization, and may not be stationed any closer than 2,000 feet from residential neighborhoods, child care facilities, and schools.  No dates have been set yet for the opening of the facilities or when the product will be available to patients.

This bill received great support, largely because Missouri Senator, Eric Schmitt, has a son who suffers from epilepsy. During a discussion of the bill, Schmitt addressed the room,

“The promise of CBD oil is real. I don’t know if this will work. We’ve had hope before. It might or it might not.”

Applications are currently being accepted for patients who want to participate in the program. The state estimates 1,000 epilepsy patients will take advantage of the new medical cannabis oil law. In order to qualify to participate in the program, a patient must provide certification from a neurologist stating that at least three other forms of treatment have been tried.

photo credit: High Times

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