Missouri had its first medical marijuana dispensaries debuted in October of last year, but there are now upwards of 140 throughout the state, plus several more to open soon.
The state’s medicinal marijuana business employs approximately 5,000 people, according to local news station FOX 2 NOW, and sales have really been robust.
Medical cannabis sales in Missouri are on track to reach or exceed $200 million before the year’s end, after earthshattering sales during the month of August.
The sales last month neared $22 million, breaking the previous monthly record for the fourth time.
Gov. Mike Parson rejected a bill this summer that might have enabled medical marijuana company owners to subtract their expenditures, but the state program’s director says that won’t halt the sector.
Lyndall Fraker, director of the medical marijuana section with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said, “The sales revenue is pleasantly surprising. At the end of July, we surpassed $91 million in sales.”
With the $21.73 million in sales in August, medicinal cannabis users in Missouri have spent a total of $113.09 million in less than a year. Year-end sales totals will smash early estimates if this trend continues.
In 2018, the state voters approved an amendment legalizing medicinal marijuana and Missouri became the 33rd state to decriminalize marijuana for medical purposes. All medicinal marijuana sold in Missouri, according to Fraker, is produced in the state.
The amendment’s supporters demanded that Missouri establish a minimum of 192 dispensaries, a goal that Fraker believes Missouri will meet.
So far, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has authorized 29 marijuana growing facilities, 40 infused product manufacturers, and 143 dispensaries. 379 establishments have been approved and authorized by the DHSS to grow, manufacture, test, ship, and distribute medical cannabis to Missouri patients.
The amendment that was passed on stated that we must operate at least the minimum number of dispensaries, which was 192, Fraker explained. When calculated how much product it would need to service the patient base depending on the number of amounts each patient can buy monthly, Fraker believes we will be fine for another five or six years.
Fraker thinks the remaining 50 dispensaries will be operational by the end of the year.
Missouri’s first dispensaries started serving lengthy queues in October of last year. Missourians may feel empowered to move to the next level and support recreational cannabis usage after the success of the medicinal marijuana program.
The state says that it has issued 4,663 of the necessary state agent ID cards to operate in medicinal cannabis businesses as of Monday. All of those positions, with the exception of 200, were added last year.
At the time, GOP state House Representative Shamed Dogan stated, “We spend more time and more law enforcement resources going after marijuana smokers than all the other drugs combined.” He added that right now, possession of cannabis is the cause of 10 percent of convictions in Missouri.
All medicinal marijuana products bought in Missouri are subject to an extra 4% sales tax.
Only half of the state’s cultivators are now producing, according to Fraker, and part of the delay is attributable to the pandemic. He said that 29 sites are now operational, with a target of 63 locations, the bulk of which he intends to launch over the following 3 months.
Missouri’s medicinal cannabis patient enrollment keeps rising, with over 139,000 Missouri patients and caregivers now sanctioned by the state.