DHSS director says Missouri cannabis dispensaries will launch for business mid-summer

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The year 2020 was predicted to be a successful one in regards to Missouri’s newly-launched medical cannabis industry. However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left dispensary owners on tenterhooks as they wait for the go-ahead to open their doors.

January saw medical cannabis legalization officially roll out across the State of Missouri. Since this coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19 restrictions have coincided with difficulties in meeting seed-to-sale requirements; restricting patient access to the plant. 

Problems regarding medical cannabis in Missouri – as well as other states that have experienced store closures since they are not considered “essential business” – continue to linger amid the virus outbreak, which has forced much of the world to abide by social distancing rules. In these difficult times, the idea of federal cannabis legalization couldn’t be more appealing.

Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for medical cannabis patients in Missouri — inspectors started attending dispensary sites from May 4 onwards. 

Medical cannabis in Missouri: Governor Mike Parson’s COVID-19 briefing

Since the pandemic started, Governor Mike Parson announced that he would be holding daily press briefings as a means of enlightening Missouri’s residents on COVID-19 updates in the state. In each press briefing, Gov. Parson is joined by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams, Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Sandy Karsten, and MO HealthNet Director Todd Richardson.

In one of the most recently held briefings, Dr. Randall W. Williams spoke about the topic of coronavirus in Missouri and its potential implications on the medical cannabis industry. According to the DHSS director, dispensary inspections have been taking place since the beginning of May. This month was chosen in particular since it marks the time when the state’s homebound restrictions have been lifted. In “late July, early August” Dr. Williams says new dispensaries are likely to open their doors. 

Delays in the launch of Missouri’s medical cannabis retail stores have been attributed to a mandate that says all state-sold cannabis should be cultivated from seeds once the plant became officially legal on January 1. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on cannabis business operations in Missouri, which have been unable to serve customers due to social distancing requirements.

Lawmakers dismiss idea to use medical cannabis in Missouri before legislative meetings 

In separate news, Missouri lawmakers recently turned down a health care bill amendent that – if approved – would have seen House members enjoy “substantial” amounts of the plant prior to starting out legislative duties. A pretty wild request, most might say, but Rep. Andrew McDaniel (R) believes the amendment could have encouraged lawmakers to unclench.

Rep. McDaniel is the man behind the amendment, which was rejected in a voice note after he introduced it. His motive for introducing the unlikely amendment was to “get everyone to chill out and get a little chuckle” and detach from the “whole bunch of crap” that has accompanied existing healthcare legislation.

Based on the details of the amendment, “members of the Missouri House shall consume a substantial dose of medicinal [cannabis] prior to entering the chamber or voting on any legislation. Despite the healthcare bill amendment’s dismissal, reporters claim that a few lawmakers rejoiced at the idea.