Missouri Police Not Sure How They Will Deal With Medical Marijuana

The police is concerned that the new law will make their job more complicated.

marijuana home grows
Photo by Westend61/Getty Images

Now that the voters in Missouri have decided that medical marijuana should be available to patients suffering from any health condition whatsoever, law enforcement agencies across the state are starting to freak out a little. While police understand there will be people who can legally possess and even grown marijuana for personal use, they are concerned that the new law will make it more difficult for them to enforce prohibition laws for those not affiliated with the program.

The Show-Me State’s approval of Amendment 2 gives way to one of the most lenient medical marijuana laws in the country. What makes it more liberal than others around the country is the fact that it doesn’t come with a specific set of qualified conditions. The law puts this determination into the hands of the physicians.

So, if a patient walks into a doctor’s office and complains about not having a sense of humor unless he or she smokes weed three times a day, they could technically walk away with a recommendation for medical marijuana. The state would then issue that person a medical marijuana card, which would give them the freedom to purchase several ounces of medicinal cannabis a month and grow up to six plants at home.

This makes police nervous.

While most cops in legal marijuana states are often worried about things like policing stoned drivers, Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott says his concerns run much deeper. He believes the cultivation aspect of the medical marijuana program will allow the state to become a major hub for illegal marijuana trafficking operations.

“What it does is it gives a lot of people the thought that you can just start growing marijuana,” Arnott told the Springfield News-Leader.

Still, Arnott admits that policing pot in Missouri will not be that much of an issue once it gets rolling. Since the health officials will provide every medical marijuana patient with an identification card, determining who should be in possession of pot and who shouldn’t be that tough, he said.

“Once they lay out the regulations, it’s not going to be difficult on the enforcement side,” Arnott told the news source.

Meanwhile, Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams, who has been opposed to the legalization of marijuana since the beginning, questions whether Missouri’s approval of Amendment 2 is really about helping patients.

“I’m not opposed to providing a benefit to people in a medical way, but allowing people to basically grow marijuana and smoke it, I think, is ripe for abuse,” Williams said.

Police in other legal states have been cracking down on illegal marijuana operations. Missouri should be no exception. However, Chief Williams seems a bit misguided in his approach to law enforcement in a legal state. He says his force will continue to arrest people who use the herb illegally.

But considering the nature of the law, anyone in Missouri who wants medical marijuana will be able to procure it through legal sources. Again, patients with any condition can qualify for participation. The focus of police should be lending support to the licensed trade, not busting people for pot. It’s time for Missouri police to reprogram and learn that legal marijuana is not the enemy.

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