As Missouri started opening up medical marijuana dispensaries at the end of 2020, folks have been asking how that will impact the Illinois market just across the river.
The past year while Illinois has enjoyed legal recreational and medicinal marijuana, its neighboring Missouri residents haven’t been able to partake… well legally that is.
State Border Crossing With Marijuana
Anytime you cross a state border with Marijuana, the crime you are committing goes under federal jurisdiction.
Although states like Missouri are lining up to legalize the herb, federal law remains steadfast in its prohibition of the substance. According to Section 812 of Title 21 in the U.S. Code, marijuana remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance since 1970.
As a result, transporting marijuana from one state to another – even if weed is recreationally legal in both states – is a federal crime. As a consequence, the feds can prosecute you for transporting marijuana from one legal state to another.
This means you can be busted for bringing weed from one legal state like California into another legal state like Oregon, and vice-versa.
While it isn’t necessarily a case of police eagerly waiting to arrest everyone at state borders, troopers in states such as Missouri know that people will try to smuggle in cannabis from their neighbors in Illinois, so they are extra alert.
Penalties For Crossing State Lines With Marijuana
I hate to give you that typical lawyer answer, but… it depends on the circumstances and who is charging you.
The state trooper or local entity who pulls you over can choose if this is something handled at the federal level because of the supposed border crossing, or if it should be handled by the county, city or state level.
Missouri Marijuana Possession Laws
In Missouri, it depends where you are in the state for how you will get charged.
For example, while it is not law per se, both St. Louis City and County prosecutors have been quoted saying they generally will not prosecute anyone for possession alone of up to 35 grams.
At the state level, here’s how you’d get charged based on how much marijuana is in your possession:
- More than 35 grams: Class D Felony
- Between 10 grams and 35 grams: Class A Misdemeanor
- 10 grams or less: Class D Misdemeanor
Marijuana Trafficking Charges
If whoever pulls you over only wants to charge you with possession, consider yourself lucky.
When you cross state lines to transport an illegal substance, you’re committing another federal crime called drug trafficking.
The penalties for trafficking marijuana include prison and fines of $250,000 or more, depending on the quantity of marijuana.
But What If I Have A Medical Card?
Even if you have a Missouri medical marijuana card, it doesn’t enable you to purchase medical marijuana in other states.
As a 21-year-old with a medical card in Missouri, you can purchase recreational marijuana in Illinois. However, Illinois medicinal dispensaries can’t accept a Missouri medical card since their state laws allow for different conditions to qualify.
Have a Marijuana Charge in Missouri?
Marijuana laws and regulations are slow to change, but it is happening gradually across the country.
In the meantime, misunderstandings about the rules and how they are applied can create situations where someone who thinks they are following the law can end up with marijuana charges.
Contact your trusted friends at The People’s Counsel for a free consultation regarding your misdemeanor or criminal marijuana charges today.If you or a loved one have had your life affected by a criminal conviction or arrest, please contact us for a free consultation at 314-669-6464 or www.thepeoplescounsel.com/contact/.