By Kathleen Beebe
Regional Manager and HR Director
Missouri Health and Wellness
Jefferson City, MO
In 2018 Missouri voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, and the program officially launched in October 2020. There are now nearly 170,000 people registered as patients and the program has had more than $200 million dollars in sales since its inception.
But despite voter support and the program’s growth, we still have a stigma to overcome. We regularly face opposition from those who were exposed to the cannabis prohibition campaigns of the past. On more than one occasion we have had someone come up to our booth to pray for us when we have attended an outreach event.
In addition to overcoming public opposition, we also face challenges in marketing our business because of advertising restrictions on both the local and federal level. We’ve had to get creative and decided to let our patients share their experience by launching the It’s My Medicine Canna Stories – Real People, Real Medicine campaign. These are stories from some of our patients who have been willing to go public about their cannabis use.
These brave people have shared their stories about their medical conditions and the challenges they faced with medical professionals who were supposedly looking out for their best interest, as well as the side effects of the pharmaceuticals they were prescribed. Each and every person I talk to has experienced relief from their condition by trying cannabis.
In my job, I have seen first-hand the benefits people experience from cannabis. In fact, helping people find relief through cannabis is one of my favorite parts of my job. Knowing that I can be a part in making a difference in someone’s quality of life is priceless. We have patients in their 80s and 90s who have never tried cannabis before and are now finally getting some relief.
Fortunately, for them and others, we have a legal program that provides access to the healing properties of this plant. We just have to let the people know what it can do first.