It has been nearly two years since Missouri voters elected to allow the medical use of marijuana, and one year since the program began. But even when patients follow all the rules, they still can find themselves potentially in trouble with the law, as a recent incident announced by the state health department illustrates.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says that a scheme may deprive 600 people of their medical marijuana licenses through no fault of their own. The agency says that the doctor’s signatures on the patients’ certification forms did not match the physicians the patients met with. The health department is calling this “fraudulent activity,” but none of the patients are being charged with a crime.

30 days to get their medical marijuana licenses back

However, the investigation has invalidated their marijuana licenses. Once notified, they will have just 30 days to submit a valid certification as a replacement. Otherwise, they will no longer have the right to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Besides the discrepancy between the physicians examining patients and those signing the certification, it is not clear what the purpose of the alleged “fraudulent activity” could be.

Changes in marijuana law

The attitude toward marijuana is changing. Besides Missouri’s medical marijuana program, Kansas City and other cities have decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug. But marijuana is still a controlled substance under state and federal law. Trafficking or possession charges can still land you behind bars.

As someone accused of a crime, you have several rights, including the right not to answer questions from the police, and the right to an attorney. Your defense attorney will make sure your rights are respected and the process of dealing with your criminal case is as fair as possible.