‘Right to Farm’ in Missouri Doesn’t Cover Pot

(AP) – A new constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to farm doesn’t protect a woman who reportedly grew marijuana in her home, a Missouri judge ruled this week.
Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled against a woman Tuesday whose public defender tried to argue that cultivating marijuana falls under the farming-rights amendment, the Jefferson City News Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1O8OCcy).
Public defender Justin Carver argued that Green should set aside a grand jury indictment against Lisa A. Loesch. She was charged in 2012 after Jefferson City police arrested her for allegedly growing pot in her basement.
“The conduct alleged in the indictment, even if taken as true, does not give rise to an offense in that the conduct is protected by the Missouri Constitutional right-to-farm,” Carver wrote in an April motion.
Voters added the amendment, which states that “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state,” to the Missouri Constitution in August 2014.
Green ruled that the amendment only applies to livestock and “legitimate” crop cultivation, and even those practices still are subject to regulations.
The “argument that growing marijuana in a basement constitutes a ‘farming or ranching practice’ goes way beyond the plain meaning of ‘farming or ranching practice,'” Green wrote. “Simply put, marijuana is not considered a part of Missouri’s agriculture.”

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