Compromise reached on edibles compromise; eyes turn to employee rights, lifting caps

Compromise reached on edibles compromise; eyes turn to employee rights, lifting caps


With less than two weeks remaining in the regular session of the state legislature, legislation is moving fast in Jefferson City with amendment changes – a few of which can be considered a win for parts of Missouri’s blooming industry. Other bills remain in play that cause concern for patient rights and patient access.

A deal has been reached in the state legislature in what has been called the “Edibles Bill.” The new language addressing edibles includes specific guidelines for labeling and packaging medical marijuana products. The purpose of the compromise language is to clarify that the bill’s intent is to ban specific medical cannabis labeling and product shapes that may be attractive to minors, but not ban the edible product itself.

The new language is below.

The bill itself was tacked on as an amendment in other bills up for debate, but the language of the bill has been changed for those amendments and legislators alerted to look for the new language. The new language is one that is very similar to other states’ laws with functioning programs.
The bill, as an amendment, was placed on bills HBs 1559, 1383, 1682, 896, and SB 523. The compromise language is to replace the previous language. On those bills, as well as SBs 523 and 774 is also the fingerprint background check language DHSS needs to process agent ID cards through federal background check channels.
The new language of the edibles-related legislation up for debate is:
195.805.  1.  No edible marijuana-infused product, packaging, or logo sold in Missouri pursuant to article XIV of the Missouri Constitution shall be designed in the shape of a human, animal, or fruit, including realistic, artistic, caricature, or cartoon renderings.  However, geometric shapes, including, but not limited to, circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles, shall be permitted.
     2.  Each package containing an edible marijuana-infused product with ten or more milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) shall be stamped with a universal symbol for such products, which shall consist of the following:
     (1)  A diamond containing the letters “THC”;
     (2)  The letter “M” located under the “THC” within the diamond, to signify that the product is for medical purposes; and
     (3)  The number of milligrams of THC in the package.The universal symbol shall be placed on the front of the package in red and white print and shall measure one-half inch by one-half inch from point to point.
     3.  Any licensed or certified entity regulated by the department of health and senior services pursuant to article XIV of the Missouri Constitution found to have violated the provisions of this section shall be subject to department sanctions, including an administrative penalty, in accordance with the regulations promulgated by the department pursuant to article XIV of the Missouri Constitution.
     4.  The department shall promulgate rules and regulations prohibiting edible marijuana-infused products designed to appeal to persons under eighteen years of age, as well as promulgate rules and regulations to establish a process by which a licensed or certified entity may seek approval of an edible product design, package, or label prior to such product’s manufacture or sale in order to determine compliance with the provisions of this section and any rules promulgated pursuant to this section.  Any rule or portion of a rule, as that term is defined in section 536.010 that is created under the authority delegated in this section shall become effective only if it complies with and is subject to all of the provisions of chapter 536 and, if applicable, section 536.028.  This section and chapter 536 are nonseverable and if any of the powers vested with the general assembly pursuant to chapter 536 to review, to delay the effective date, or to disapprove and annul a rule are subsequently held unconstitutional, then the grant of rulemaking authority and any rule proposed or adopted after August 28, 2020, shall be invalid and void.

On Tuesday, the House approved an amendment which would raise the cap on licenses to anyone who meets the minimum constitutional standards, but keeping license type caps in place. This bill had 19 amendments added by the House and was eventually laid over without a vote from the chamber.


Industry partners are also monitoring SB 766, which would change DWI laws to apply to medical marijuana patients, and hoping to see the bill defeated. The bill would force patients to choose between driving and taking their medicine by allowing for testing even without impairment.

SB 610 is another bill being actively monitored which would target employees with cards as it relates to employee drug testing – employees could be terminated for a positive test regardless of the impact to work quality. Amendment 2 itself prohibits employees from suing employers for being disciplined for working while under the influence, but this bill goes a step further allowing employers to adopt politics and pursue employment practices that would invariably expose employee-patients to infringing on employee’s constitutional rights. Missouri law currently prohibits the use of marijuana in public places or at places of business. This language is also in HB 1559, which makes the bill a legislative priority for defeat.

Instead of pushing for this bill, there is a movement to reform the proposed language to establish a safe harbor for employers to discipline employees whose performance is impacted by marijuana use, using specific qualifiers for acceptable patient-professionalism, including difficulty communicating, lethargy, smell, body control issues, and red, dilated, or watery eyes. A similar language exists in Arizona statutes.

Amended bills must be approved by both chambers before being sent to the Governor for his signature. The state legislature is in session until May 15, 2020.