Missouri medical marijuana program enables qualifying patients to have a licensed CDS caregiver who buys, grows, and dispenses medical marijuana for them. If you’re interested in becoming a medical marijuana caregiver, here’s what you need to know.
What Is a Primary Caregiver?
Medical marijuana is used as an alternative treatment for qualifying illnesses, such as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, migraines, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions.
Federal law prohibits prescribing medical marijuana. Patients can only obtain a physician’s certification showing that they have a qualifying health condition and may benefit from its use. Patients who obtain this certification are registered in a state registry that gives them legal access to the state’s medical marijuana dispensary program.
Medical marijuana caregiver
A medical marijuana caregiver is a person who is authorized to buy, possess, cultivate, and dispense medicinal marijuana on behalf of qualifying patients who are incapable of buying it themselves because they are bedridden, hospitalized, or otherwise debilitated.
To qualify as a medical marijuana caregiver in Missouri, you have to meet the following criteria set by the Missouri Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS):
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- You must be legally responsible for managing the well-being of a qualifying patient.
- You must have a signed Missouri patient authorization form where you are named as the caregiver of a medical marijuana patient.
You are not required to be a nurse or health professional to become a marijuana patient caregiver. A caregiver may be anyone including another medical marijuana patient, a legal caretaker, a family member, or a friend. Marijuana patients can also find individuals who may be interested in being caregivers through Missouri Cannabis Growers Association and other groups.
Cultivating medical marijuana
As a licensed caregiver, you can obtain the authorization to cultivate medical marijuana plants on behalf of the patient. However, you can cultivate marijuana only if your patient doesn’t have a cultivating license. What’s more, your only responsibility as a primary caregiver can be to cultivate medicinal marijuana necessary for your patient’s treatment.
You are allowed to grow up to six flowering plants, six nonflowering plants, and six clones per patient. You are not permitted to use medical marijuana yourself unless you have a medical marijuana license issued in your name.
Note that there is no reciprocity between Missouri’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP) and medical marijuana programs in other states. That’s why being licensed in another state doesn’t automatically qualify you for a license to cultivate medical marijuana in Missouri.
What To Know Before You Apply as a Caregiver in Missouri
There are a few things to know before you start the caregiver application process:
- Medical marijuana caregiver registration is done entirely online. Walk-in or mailed applications, documents, and payments are not accepted and will be returned to the applicant.
- You must have a valid email address and phone number to register.
- You are not allowed to be a caregiver to more than three qualifying marijuana patients.
- You can’t qualify as a caregiver for a patient that already has two other caregivers.
- Only a parent or guardian can be a primary caregiver for children under the age of 18.
How do I apply to become a primary caregiver?
To become a licensed primary caregiver, you have to register with the state through the Missouri Medical Marijuana Program Portal. The application process is straightforward and takes only about 15 minutes to complete. All you need to do is create an account and fill out the new caregiver registration form.
Missouri caregiver ID
After your application has been approved, you will obtain a caregiver identification card. You can access your ID card at any time by logging onto your Missouri Medical Marijuana Program Registry account.
You will be required to show a printed or digital copy of your DHSS-issued ID card and a photo ID when purchasing medical marijuana. The DHSS doesn’t provide physical ID cards for patients and caregivers.
Your Missouri caregiver ID card is valid for 12 months. It can be renewed anytime between 30 and 60 days before its expiration date. However, if you fail to renew the card before it expires, you will have to fill out and submit a new application.
If you wish to grow medical marijuana for the patient, you must obtain a separate marijuana cultivation license.
Information To Have Ready When You Are Applying
The following information is required when applying as a medical marijuana caregiver in Missouri:
- Your name, date of birth, and social security number
- Your email address and phone number
- Your residential address and mailing address
- The name and license number of the qualifying patient
- A color photo of your face taken within the last three months
- A copy of state or federal government-issued photo ID
- A copy of your patient’s signed DHSS authorization form.
Caregivers for a child under the age of 18
If you are the caregiver for a child under the age of 18, you will also need to upload a copy of a birth certificate, adoption record, or another document showing that you are their parent or legal guardian.
Caregivers who cultivate marijuana for the patient
If you would like to cultivate marijuana for a patient, you must also provide:
- The exact address where you intend to grow marijuana plants
- A description of the security arrangements that you will use to restrict access to the premises
- A statement confirming that you will make this area accessible to the DHSS
- The name and license number of the patient
- The caregiver license number of another caregiver with whom your cultivating facility will be shared (where applicable)
- A signed patient authorization form, unless you are the parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18.
Tips for Applying as a Caregiver
- Only complete applications are considered received, so it is important to fill out all the required information.
- Make sure that the information you provide is correct and error-free. You won’t be able to make any changes after you have registered.
- Once you submit the application form, the DHSS has 30 days to approve or deny your request. They will notify you about their decision by email.
- The department will inform you if anything is missing from your application. You have 10 days to resubmit the application. Make sure to respond quickly as this notification is sent only once.
- If you don’t receive a response from DHSS within 30 days of the application, you will automatically receive an ID card.
- You can choose to apply to cultivate marijuana for your patient at the same time when applying for your caregiver ID or at a later date.
- Your authorization to cultivate marijuana will expire at the same time as your primary caregiver ID.
- If you have more than one patient, you must submit a new application for each patient and pay the necessary fees.
- Either the patient or the caregiver can apply to cultivate marijuana, but they are not allowed to apply at the same time.
How Many Patients Can a Caregiver Have in Missouri?
If you are a caregiver in Missouri, you can legally have up to three medical marijuana patients. Patients can have up to two caregivers.
Who Should Submit the Documents in a Caregiver Application: the Patient or the Caregiver?
Caregiver applicants are required to submit their own application and submit all the necessary documentation. Patients are not allowed to submit an application on behalf of the caregiver.
Who Can Be a Caregiver for a Licensed Minor Patient?
Medical marijuana is sometimes recommended in the treatment of children with severely debilitating or life-threatening conditions. Qualifying minors may become marijuana patients provided that they have the written consent of their parent or legal guardian.
Only parents and legal guardians of licensed minor patients may serve as their caregivers. A parent or legal guardian must obtain a caregiver ID that will allow them to purchase and administer medical marijuana.
DHSS mandates that all qualified medical patients under the age of 18 have a designated marijuana caregiver since they can’t legally purchase or cultivate marijuana themselves. A parent or legal guardian who is a licensed caregiver must do it for them.
Minors are not allowed to obtain a cultivation ID card.
Is My Licensed Caregiver Authorized To Sell Medical Marijuana?
Primary caregivers are not authorized to sell medical marijuana. In addition, medical marijuana can’t be sold through physician offices or pharmacies. It must pass all testing requirements to ensure a safe product and can be sold only by state dispensaries licensed by DHSS.
Medical marijuana How Much Does It Cost To Become a Primary Caregiver?
The state of Missouri charges a $25 application fee for caregivers. You will be asked to pay the fee when completing your license registration online.
A cultivation license that gives you the right to grow marijuana for your patients costs $100.
You need to pay separate fees for each application to become a primary caregiver as well as for each application to cultivate medical marijuana.