Understanding Missouri’s medical marijuana possession laws and MMEs
Throughout a normal work day in the dispensary, a budtender will come across many different kinds of patients all with different expertise and experience levels with cannabis. While our more experienced patients might feel more comfortable exploring their options, there’s still one aspect of the Missouri Medical program that seems to throw new patients and seasoned veterans alike for a loop. A crucial aspect of maximizing your Missouri medical marijuana experience, is understanding just how the Missouri Medical Equivalency, or MME, system set in place for patients works. Understanding these protocols and the time schedule involved will help the patient to feel more comfortable with the product they’re buying after knowing just how much they can purchase, and when they can purchase more.
In Missouri, the state allows patients to purchase up to 4 ounces of flower, or its equivalent in edibles or concentrates every rolling 30-day period. While this statement seems simple to follow, there are many moving parts where patients can easily get lost in the jumble.
First, let’s change 4 ounces into its gram equivalent, which would be 113.4 grams per 30 days. Now that our measurements will all be in one standard unit, understanding the MME system should be a breeze!
Also, it’s important to note patients can buy their allowed amounts of product anywhere in the state, all at once or spread throughout their 30 days as they please.
- *Editor’s note
- DHSS SMMR guides denote the MME system as 32 units monthly for a patient with a standard allotment. For conversion purposes:
- 1 MME is equivalent to 3.5 g of dried cured, flower.
- 1 MME is equivalent to 100 mg of THC in infused products.
- 1 MME is equivalent to 1 g of THC concentrate.
- Patients are allotted 32MMEs per 30-day period
- While the conversion is inexact, 32 3.5 gram jars leave a remainder of 1.4 grams, it is helpful for demonstration purposes and ease of reference.
For patients whose primary consumption method is flower, the Missouri Medical Equivalency program is rather simple and straightforward. For every 30 days, the state allows you to purchase 113.4 grams of flower.
For example, if on the 4th of July you purchased one eighth (3.5g), the new amount you would be allowed to purchase would be 109.9 grams. We reached 109.9 by subtracting the 3.5 grams purchased from the 113.4 grams allowed by the state, to arrive at our new updated patient limit. This 109.9 number will be referred to as our “remaining allotment”, a term that will be used to further comprehend the system in later examples. Since the state measures all products related to grams of flower, there isn’t a conversion formula to worry about when purchasing flower. If you were to purchase 10 one-gram pre-rolls the day after July 4th, the allotment would simply decrease from 109.9 to 99.9. The patient will receive these grams back from the state in 30 days, getting the 3.5 gram eighth back on August 3rd, and the 10-gram pre-rolls back on August 4th. If you didn’t purchase any other products containing THC for the remainder of the 30 days, the full allotment of 113.4 grams will be available once again on August 4th.
For patients who rely heavily on edibles for their medical needs, this is where the MME system requires a little more thought and attention. Since everything is measured in grams of flower, to correctly track your allotment there is a conversion formula we must keep in mind. Missouri decided that 100mg of THC contained in edibles is equivalent to purchasing 3.5 grams of flower. For example, the total amount you can purchase will look the exact same after purchasing one 100 mg chocolate, compared to if you had purchased your favorite eighth (3.5grams) of flower.
So if a patient had their full allotment after receiving their card and purchased one 100mg edible, their remaining allotment would read 109.9 grams. This 100 mg package size serves as our base, which is important to note considering edibles often come in sample packages and even high-dose containers. This is important to understand, especially for edible patients, considering that high-potency edibles can take quite a chunk of the available MMEs away from the patient’s monthly allotment.
If a patient purchases a 300mg high-potency edible, the patient will see a deduction of 10.5 grams (3.5g X 3) from their allotment. This can be inconvenient for patients whose tolerance has adjusted, requiring higher doses to reach their therapeutic needs. Personally as a budtender, one of my least favorite conversations is telling a patient they cannot purchase that day due to their low allotment balance. No one wants to be denied their medicine, so understanding the MME system is critical to continuing stress-free self-medication.
The last consumption method left to speak of would be concentrates, including cartridges and dabs. While a little easier to understand than edibles, it’s still important to discuss the conversion method used by the state. At Kansas City Cannabis, most of our concentrate options come in one-gram sizes. These one-gram concentrates will count as 3.5 grams of flower towards the patient’s allotment, the same as if a patient had purchased one-eighth of flower.
Half-gram sizes are also common, especially for cartridges, which will simply count as 1.75 grams of flower for each half-gram product. Just like the above consumption methods, the grams will be returned by the state after 30 days, allowing the patient to restock on their medication for the new month.
I find the MME system to be rather friendly towards concentrates, as one gram of wax will last me longer than one-eighth of flower. It is important for patients to understand these laws and regulations in place, and decide what consumption methods work best for them on a medical and financial level.
With Missouri residents finally medicating and indulging in cannabis products legally, understanding and participating in the Missouri Medical program is a privilege I never thought I would experience. Patients are awarded a sizable amount of four ounces per 30 days, and allotment limits can even be raised with official physician certification forms from two different doctors. These privileges should not be ignored by Missouri residents, who now have access to self-medicate, hopefully resulting in a stress-free and overall increased quality of life.
Dustin Alexander brings years of pharmaceutical experience to the cannabis field and his role as a Budtender at Kansas City Cannabis. Dustin strives to help patients meet their medical needs, combining his experience with his growing passion for cannabis. Dustin’s work is dedicated to giving back to an industry that he knows and loves while helping Kansas City Metro patients to maximize their daily quality of life through cannabis.