Rolla updates its law to allow medical cannabis

The City of Rolla, Missouri, is on its way to passing an ordinance that will no longer conflict with recent medical marijuana possession.

The city held its first reading of an ordinance that will amend the city code to allow medicinal marijuana. Under current city law, possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana is illegal with no exception for medical marijuana applicants approved by the state for legal possession.

The proposed ordinance was drafted after Rolla Police Chief Sean Fagan notified the city that the marijuana possession law on the books doesn’t allow medical marijuana.

This new ordinance amends Rolla’s cannabis possession law with language making it an exception for individuals who have patient or caregiver medical cannabis cards approved by Missouri’s Department of Health.  The Missouri’s Department of Health has approved more than 10,000 patient and caregiver applications already. The new statewide medical cannabis laws are expected to go into effect early next year.

Rolla’s current possession law makes possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana or possession of drug paraphernalia a criminal misdemeanor. Punishment can be a maximum fine of $500, a maximum prison sentence of 90 days, or punishable by both a fine and imprisonment.

Having the possession laws soon to be tweaked does not address the use of equipment used to plant, cultivate and harvest as part of a manufacturing industry of marijuana. To do so conflicts with drug paraphernalia laws. So any prospective business owners wanting to grow, manufacture and sell medical cannabis in the city’s limits will have problems.

To address the issue, Rolla has already reached a memorandum of understanding with a Denver based company to open a cultivation facility within city limits. This assumes the company is awarded an operating license.

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