Missouri Marijuana Card announced that they are providing free evaluations to veterans during the first month of operations, starting in mid-July. The announcement comes on the heels of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services stating that the department is now accepting applications ahead of schedule for qualifying medical marijuana patients and caregivers.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) section for Medical Marijuana Regulation has its systems in place and is currently accepting applications for patients and caregivers ahead of the initial July 4 deadline set by Article XIV of the constitution. 

Under Missouri law doctors can recommend marijuana to patients with a wide range of medical conditions including — post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, cancer, chronic medical conditions that cause severe, persistent pain as well as chronic medical conditions usually treated with prescription medicine that could lead to dependence.

Amendment 2 creates three separate identification cards that may be obtained by a person who has a qualifying condition or a person designated as a primary caregiver to an individual with a qualifying condition. The three identification cards under Amendment 2 are – a qualifying patient identification card, a qualifying patient cultivation card and a primary caregiver identification card.

Qualifying patient identification cards are for residents of Missouri with qualifying conditions defined under Amendment 2, to identify them as having the right to possesses medical marijuana.

The approval process for a qualifying patient identification card requires a person to obtain a recommendation for medical marijuana from an MD or DO licensed to practice in Missouri, and each location of Missouri Marijuana Card  is staffed with certified doctors that recommend medical marijuana to eligible patients. Support staff is also on hand, who assist patients throughout the registration process. 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has stipulations where the VA can’t deny veterans access to health care or compensation benefits due to medical marijuana use; however, VA providers are prohibited to recommend or prescribe cannabis since federal law still classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 drug.

VA providers may only prescribe medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration; as long as the FDA classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, VA health care providers cannot recommend or assist veterans in obtaining it, according to the VA.

VA providers can discuss marijuana use with veterans as part of comprehensive care planning, and adjust treatment plans as necessary, yet the VA will not pay for medical marijuana prescriptions from any source, and VA providers won’t complete paperwork or forms required for a veteran to participate in a state-approved marijuana program.

With clinics located in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and more locations expected to open in the coming months, Missouri Marijuana Card is providing veterans free evaluations to help patients get approved for medical marijuana under Missouri’s new program after seeing veterans denied access to medical marijuana because they couldn’t afford it.

“As part of our launch, we wanted to give back to those that have served this county. We’ve witnessed firsthand in Ohio how many veterans use medical marijuana to alleviate PTSD symptoms, but unfortunately, the lack of insurance coverage has made access prohibitively expensive for some,” Missouri Marijuana Card President Connor Shore said. 

Missouri Marijuana Card is the sister company of Ohio Marijuana Card; one of Ohio’s leading providers of medical marijuana evaluations. Shore said in one year; they were able to help 18,000 patients access medical marijuana in Ohio.

“We expect to see similar enthusiasm in Missouri, and we are excited to help increase access and affordability throughout the state,” Shore said. “We don’t believe that anyone, let alone Veterans, should be denied access to this incredible medicine because they can’t afford it.”

Missouri Amendment 2 has a 4 percent retail tax for the sale of medicinal marijuana that goes towards programs to benefit Missouri veterans.

How to Apply for a Patient Identification Card for Medical Marijuana

If a person has a qualifying condition or believes medical marijuana can help them; then they might be eligible. Before someone can purchase and use medical marijuana, they have to get a Missouri patient identification card for medical marijuana.

In order to obtain a patient identification card, an individual must be a resident of Missouri and at least 18 years old, have at least one qualifying medical condition, schedule an appointment with a Missouri licensed physician, bring medical records and their state I.D. to their appointment and register as a patient with the DHSS.

Patient registration requires a physician certification — a written or electronic document signed by a physician stating that in the physician’s professional opinion, the patient suffers from a qualifying medical condition. Once certified, physicians submit the form to the DHSS to register the patient.

A patient completes registration by paying the $25 fee required by the DHSS. Then the patient will receive a patient identification card in the mail. The patient identification card grants a patient access to state-approved dispensaries where they can purchase medicinal marijuana.

Individuals, who are seeking consultation and physician certifications from state-certified doctors for medical marijuana, bear in mind, the DHSS won’t accept any physician certification an individual receives for medical marijuana that is older than 30 days when applying for a patient identification card.

With the DHSS now accepting patient identification card applications online, patients must visit medicalmarijuana.mo.gov to enter their information into the online application system. 

The DHSS will accept physician certifications as an attachment to a patient's application rather than directly from a physician. Patients should download a Physician Certification Form from medicalmarijuana.mo.gov and have their physicians fill it out.

Patient registration fees are $25. The identification cards issued to qualified patients or their primary caregivers are under the administration of the DHSS where there is a $25 annual fee for qualifying patients and primary caregivers. The fee is indexed to the Consumer Price Index for all subsequent years, and qualified patients and primary caregivers will pay an additional four percent tax on all retail sales of medical marijuana.

Missouri voters approved Amendment 2 on Nov. 6, 2018, permitting state-licensed physicians to recommend marijuana for medical purposes to patients with serious illnesses and medical conditions, since no market previously existed for medical marijuana, the DHSS is responsible for the rules and regulations overseeing the market structure that meets the legally stipulated demand for medical marijuana.

Based on evidence from across 19 states and over time the number of cardholding qualified patients in Missouri is projected to be between 16,000 and 22,000 in 2020 and between 23,000 and 26,500 in 2022, according to the University of Missouri Market Study, which was carried out to assist the DHSS with analyses of the market for medical marijuana.

Based on consumption per medical marijuana patient the study projects, with 66 percent confidence, that Missouri cultivators will need to harvest between 5,200 pounds and 7,200 pounds for qualified patients in 2020, and the aggregate quantity required by 2022 will increase to between 13,300 and 15,200 pounds.

With the 4 percent tax on medical marijuana, the study projects that the State of Missouri will generate between $1.2 million and $1.6 million in additional revenues from medical marijuana tax collections in 2020, based on the price of medical marijuana at $350 per ounce. By 2021, depending on how quickly the first sales of medical marijuana occur, marijuana tax collections are projected to be between $2.2 million and $2.9 million.