Missouri celebrates the launch of more than 140 medical cannabis dispensaries in less than a year

https://patch.com/missouri/stlouis/calendar/event/20190911/634823/missouri-cannabis-card-certifications

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

In October of last year, Missouri launched its first ever medical cannabis dispensary. Now, as the year 2022 fast approaches, the state is celebrating the fact that more than 140 retail locations are actively operating statewide. 

“The amendment that was voted on said that we should open the minimum number at least, which was 192 dispensaries,” said the director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ medical cannabis division, Lyndall Fraker.

“As of today, (September 8) we have 142 open. We’ve done the math and based on the number of quantities that each patient can purchase each month, how much product it would take to serve the patient base and we think we are going to be good for five or six years.

Even more exciting is the prospect of new stores opening their doors in the foreseeable future.

Missouri’s medical cannabis industry presents employment and revenue-building opportunities

Currently, as many as 5,000 people are employed by Missouri’s medical cannabis industry, where voters approved the law in 2018. Upon the law’s passing, Missouri became the 33rd U.S. state to legalize the green plant for medicinal purposes.

Despite the fact that a bill was vetoed by the State Governor Mike parson in summer of 2021 that would have permitted medical cannabis business owners to deduct expenses, the multi-million-dollar industry doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. 

“The sales revenue is pleasantly surprising,” said Fraker, who noted that sales surpassed $91 million at the end of July. What’s more, Missouri’s cannabis industry generated more than $113 million in sales revenue this August.

Fraker added that all medical cannabis sold in Missouri is cultivated within state borders.

Hundreds of thousands of medical cannabis patients in Missouri are served by 248 facilities 

Altogether, 248 unique facilities are responsible for serving the ever-growing medical cannabis patient count in Missouri. Currently, approximately 134,000 patients are assisted through the program a figure that Fraker predicts will soar to around 180,000 over the course of the next year.

As of 2021, patients have been able to cultivate their own cannabis from home, so long as the seeds are bought inside a licensed dispensary. Additionally, Missouri’s medical cannabis patients can grow up to 18 plants inside their home, six of which can be producing plants.

“There’s not any place in the state that’s not accessible within 50 minutes to a dispensary from anywhere in the state,” Fraker explained. “We have 348 facilities that we have licensed. Our first goal is to get all 348 of those operating.”

Fraker went on to say that the governor backed Senate Bill 226, which effectively granted medical cannabis business owners the opportunity to deduct their expenses. However, there were chunks of the legislation that he did oppose.

In the event that certain issues are not tackled during the veto session that started on September 15, the governor is intent on addressing them next season.

“It’s a huge burden in Missouri to have to pay tax on the full amount of sales and not just the profit of sales which is unlike any other business that I know of,” Fraker said. “All other businesses can deduct their expenses and then you pay on the profit.”