Medical Marijuana in Missouri
Marijuana Venture’s ongoing series on various legal markets in the United States explores the ever-changing rules and regulations, market trends, demographics, business leaders and more for states that have legalized marijuana for medical or adult use. This month concludes the series on five leading medical states with an in-depth look at Missouri.
Unlike so many other markets to open before it, Missouri’s medical cannabis program launched with very few complaints from regulators, operators or patients. The chief contributors to the program’s success was New Approach Missouri’s design for Amendment 2 and its execution by the state regulators.
“It’s a very well-regulated, tight, patient-focused industry,” says Lyndall Fraker, director of the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation, which oversees the industry. “And that’s what we believe that the voters in Missouri wanted when they passed this amendment back in in 2018.”
The program’s architects were careful to avoid the mistakes made in other markets, capping the industry at 192 dispensary licenses, 60 cultivation licenses, 86 manufacturing licenses and 10 testing licenses to avoid oversaturating the market. The barrier to entry was also lower than some medical marijuana markets opened in the past few years with application fees ranging between $6,000 and $25,000, depending on the specific license. In addition, qualifying conditions included chronic pain, PTSD and even an open clause where physicians could recommend it for unnamed conditions.
John Payne, the co-author of Amendment 2 and the campaign manager of Legal Missouri 2022, says that aside from the scoring system that was used to grade applications, which created some confusion among applicants and more than 500 appeal cases for the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation to work through, he has few complaints about the realization of the amendment.
“I think they’ve done pretty well; they’ve really emphasized patient access,” Payne says. “I think that’s reflected in the fact that they’re closing in on 3% of Missouri’s population in the program already now.”
In February 2022, sales reached $268.3 million, and operators are optimistic about the future of the medical program and even more so about the possibility of a recreational cannabis measure appearing on the 2022 ballot.
“The people of Missouri are very strongly in support of this,” Payne says. “We’ve done polling on this a few times now and it comes back with over 60% support for it, which is very similar to what we were polling on medical back in 2018, so we’re very confident.”
A special thanks to C3 Industries, Flora Farms and the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association for sponsoring this issue.
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