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Missouri Legalizes Marijuana

Effective December 8, 2022, the possession, consumption, use, delivery, manufacture, and sale of marijuana is legal for adults in Missouri who are at least age 21. In the November 2022 statewide election, Missouri voters approved Amendment 3, (the Cannabis Legalizing Initiative), which allows adults to legally: 

  • Buy, and have in their possession, up to three ounces of marijuana; and
  • Grow up to six flowering plants at their home beginning February 6, 2023.

The amendment also allows individuals with certain marijuana-related offenses to petition for release from prison or parole, release from probation, and have their records expunged; and enacts a six percent tax on the retail price of recreational marijuana.

The provisions of Amendment 3 authorizing the use of marijuana for recreational purposes permit an employer to discipline individuals who use marijuana for recreational purposes, including:

  • Prohibiting marijuana use or possession in the workplace or on the employer’s property;
  • Prohibiting and taking adverse action against employees for working while under the influence of marijuana; and
  • Prohibiting employees from operating any motor vehicle or other motorized form of transport while under the influence of marijuana.

In addition, federally mandated drug testing and marijuana prohibitions, including DOT marijuana use and testing rules can and must continue.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers should review their substance abuse policies and drug screening processes to ensure compliance with Amendment 3. Other marijuana testing (i.e., post-accident or reasonable suspicion) may also require more attention, and employers should review the law against their substance abuse and/or drug testing policies and make changes as needed, including deciding whether to test for marijuana at all.

Importantly, employers should remind employees of any existing prohibitions on marijuana use, possession and impairment during working hours, on employer premises and while using company equipment or other property.

Employers should consider providing training for human resource professionals and supervisors/managers on how to determine and address impairment during working hours.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.