The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said on Thursday that the second necessary income transfer from the state’s new medical marijuana program to the Missouri Veterans Commission has been started.
The total amount sent is $6,843,310, far more than the initial transfer, which was $2,135,510 in September of last year.
The money must be transferred in accordance with Missouri voters’ approval of a constitutional amendment allowing medicinal marijuana in 2018.
The agency said in a press release on Thursday that a provision under the amendment, which is now known as Article XIV, requires “that fees and taxes collected by [Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services] for the medical marijuana program, less operational expenses, should be transferred to the [Missouri Veterans Commission] for health and care services for military veterans.”
According to the government, it has “collected payments connected to facility and patient licensing,” and “Medical marijuana sold in approved dispensaries will be taxed at a rate of 4%,” according to Article XIV.
Missouri voters decisively passed a constitutional amendment allowing medicinal cannabis, voting 66 percent to 34 percent in favor of the proposal.
In October of 2020, the state’s first dispensaries opened their doors to consumers. Since then, the Show Me State initiative has grown in popularity.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced previously this month that the medicinal marijuana program had expanded to include just over 140 dispensaries––still short of the 192 needed under the amendment––and that the business employs around 5,000 people.
Medical cannabis sales have surpassed $91 million by the close of July, according to the agency.
“The amendment that was voted on stated that we should open the minimal number of dispensaries, which was 192,” said Lyndall Fraker, head of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ medicinal marijuana division.
“As of now, we have 142 positions available. We calculated how much product it would need to service the patient population depending on the amounts each patient can buy each month and how much product it would take to serve the patient population, and we believe we will be fine for another five or six years.”
Fraker observed last year that facilities were only “getting up and running now, and the first testing laboratory [was] on schedule to be operational very soon” at the time of the initial transfer to the veterans commission.
“We are optimistic that medical marijuana will be accessible to patients this month, and I am thankful for everyone’s hard work in getting us here,” Fraker said at the time.
The money will be used in a variety of ways, according to Paul Kirchhoff, executive director of the Missouri Veterans Commission (MVC).
Kirchhof said, “MVC will utilize these monies for veterans’ health and safety programs specified in House Bill 8.” “A part of these monies will also be utilized to construct the columbarium wall at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville.”