SB6: Six reasons to watch 1 bill in the state legislature

SB6: Six reasons to watch 1 bill in the state legislature

By Rachael Dunn

The Missouri state legislature adjourns from their 2019 session on Friday, May 17. In the past week, tensions have arisen between the Senate and the House, mostly as Senate members await action on their bills that await action in the House Rules Committee. At one point in time on Tuesday, a state senator filibustered the approval of the chamber’s journal – essentially holding up the approval of the day before’s minutes and using time itself as a political weapon against the other chamber. 

With less than two weeks left for the legislature to act ahead of the implementation of Missouri’s medical marijuana program, there is one bill in particular that has been aggressively amended to include or amend provisions prioritized by pro-cannabis lobbying groups that anyone in the industry should keep an eye on. 

Decried as concerning by many in the industry, Senate Bill 6 is the same bill amended in a Senate committee in a vague way that would drastically limit edible medical marijuana products. The amendment was placed by Sen. Bob Onder, who has repeatedly raised concerns about access and attractiveness of marijuana-infused edibles to children. The bill was passed by the Senate, but amended again in a House committee. It passed out of the committee with revised language only to be referred to the House Rules Committee, here dozens upon dozens of bills await action. The bill is scheduled to be voted on by the committee on Wednesday.

This same bill would amend statute and remove marijuana from controlled substances, as well as strengthening statutes regarding heroin and fentanyl, amongst other revisions. 

To be truly agreed and finally passed, the bill must pass the House Rules Committee, the House for perfection and third read before returning to the Senate for approval of the changes. After going through all these steps, the bill would head to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk for his signature. Bills from this session are set to become law on August 28.

1. New language on edibles 

As the bill stands ahead of voting before the Rules committee, no edible marijuana-infused product sold in the state can portray or be in the same shape of a “human, animal, or fruit, including realistic, artistic, caricature, or cartoon renderings.” This language is much more narrow and specific than the original Senate version, which many were concerned would inadvertently ban all marijuana-infused edibles.

The section also maintains edibles with ten or more milligrams of THC be stamped “with a diamond containing the letters ’THC’ and the number of milligrams of THC in that increment.” Placement and design is up to the Department of Health and Senior Services. 

2. Edibles enforcement

The same section denotes that those who have found to have violated the edibles rules are subject to “department actions, including an administrative penalty, in accordance with the regulations promulgated by the department” per the Constitution. 

Keep in mind, there is a new draft of rules up, public comment on the rules is still open, and rules are set to be released on June 4. 


3. New language protecting patient information from the federal government

The bill includes a section that would make it a class E felony for any state agency to share the statewide list of those who have a medical marijuana card. 

This provision has been championed by Rep. Nick Schroer, who has this as a standalone bill that also passed out of committee last week and sits in the House Rules Committee.

4. Hemp surveillance language

From lines 29 to 33, the current bill allows the Highway Patrol to perform aerial surveillance on illegal industrial hemp plants near legal hemp plantings, yet removes marijuana from the section regarding surveillance. The section also notes that the Patrol can coordinate surveillance on illegal hemp operations with local law enforcement, again removing marijuana. 

5. The bill has necessary updates

This bill seeks to bring marijuana language in state statute in line with constitutional language. Without passage of some bill, the constitution and state statute will conflict. Awkward. 

6. Notable: Paraphernalia language

The bill does not amend language regarding drug paraphernalia, addressed in the same statute that the bill addresses. Without revision, “Separation gins and sifters used, intended for use, or designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining, marijuana” and “Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body, such as: a. Metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls” would continue to be defined as drug paraphernalia in state statute. 


For full coverage of the legislature and all that they are up to over the next weeks, follow and read the Missouri Times. The author of this previously served as the editor of the Missouri Times.