JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Jan. 9, 2023) – A bill introduced in the Missouri Senate would prohibit the disclosure of medical marijuana patient information to unauthorized parties, including the Federal government.

Sen. Nick Schroer (R) introduced Senate Bill 457 (SB457) on Jan. 5. The proposed law would make it a felony for a state agency or state employee to disclose any personally identifying information of persons who have applied for or obtained a qualifying medical marijuana patient identification card, patient cultivation identification card, or primary caregiver identification card to the federal government or any federal employee, or another unauthorized third party.

Missouri amended its state constitution to legalize medical marijuana through a ballot initiative in November of 2018.

Currently, the Department of Justice is barred from spending funds to prosecute medical marijuana users in states that have legalized medicinal cannabis. But that ban is not set in stone. There were efforts by the Trump administration to get that ban lifted.

So far, Congress has kept the ban in place, but it could change the policy at any time. Passage of SB457 would make it more difficult for the feds to prosecute medical marijuana users in Missouri should the federal government decide to initiate a crackdown by preventing the DoJ from obtaining lists of individuals on the state registry.

It would also protect gun owners who use medical marijuana. According to the ATF, if you lawfully use marijuana, medical or otherwise, the feds say you may not purchase a firearm or ammunition. By withholding registry information from the feds, it would make it more difficult for the ATF to determine who is using marijuana in order to enforce its regulations.


Under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the federal government maintains complete prohibition of marijuana. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate cannabis within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.

Missouri’s medical marijuana program removes one layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but federal prohibition remains in place. This is significant because FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. When states stop enforcing marijuana laws, they sweep away most of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.

Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.


Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska were the first states to legalize recreational cannabis, and California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts joined them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization passed in November 2016. Michigan followed suit when voters legalized cannabis for general use in 2018. Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through a legislative act in 2018. Illinois followed suit in 2019. New Jersey, Montana and Arizona all legalized recreational marijuana through ballot measures in the 2020 election. In 2021, New YorkNew MexicoVirginia and Connecticut legalized marijuana through legislative action, and Rhode Island legalized cannabis for adult use in 2022. With Missouri and Maryland legalizing marijuana in November, there are now 37 states allowing cannabis for medical use, and 21 legalizing for adult recreational use.

The lesson here is pretty straightforward. As Tenth Amendment Center Executive Director Michael Boldin noted, “When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations, or mandates down our throats.”


SB457 had not received a committee assignment at the time of this report. Once referred to a committee, the bill must get a hearing and pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

Mike Maharrey