In terms of total cannabis sales, Missouri is outpacing the three other states that opened adult-use markets in 2023, with well over $1 billion in the first 11 months of the year, according to the latest data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Missouri’s cannabis retailers have sold about $1.22 billion of legal marijuana since the beginning of 2023, significantly more than Connecticut, Maryland and New York, which all began recreational sales in the past year.
“In so many ways 2023 has been a historic and unprecedented year for the Missouri cannabis industry,” MoCannTrade executive director Andrew Mullins said in a press release. “From $1.3 billion in annual cannabis sales, to nearly 19,000 Missourians now directly employed in the industry, to generating more than $100 million in cannabis taxes and fees, the economic benefits of legalizing cannabis in Missouri have exceeded expectations.”
About 77% of the Show-Me State’s cannabis sales have been recreational, while only about 23% are to registered medical patients — despite Missouri’s rec market not being open until February 3, 2023. Missouri could surpass Colorado, once the undisputed leader in the market, in total cannabis sales this year.
Meanwhile, New York’s potentially massive market has been hampered by legislative problems and a booming black market, keeping total sales to well under $200 million projected through the end of 2023. Maryland’s industry has had more success, even though its adult-use market didn’t open until July, and is projected to finish the year with less than $800 million in total sales. Connecticut, with the smallest population of the four states that opened rec markets in 2023, is expected to finish the year with less than $200 million in total sales.
In addition to the economic success in Missouri, Mullins pointed to the state’s success in reforming its criminal justice system. In November 2022, Missouri residents voted to automatically expunge past nonviolent marijuana charges, making it the first state in the country to do so.
According to MoCannTrade, more than 100,000 cannabis-related offenses have been automatically expunged.
“The fact that more than 100,000 past, nonviolent cannabis offenses have already been automatically expunged and that part of the 6% tax Missourians pay on adult-use cannabis sales funds these second chances is groundbreaking and we believe a model for the rest of the country,” Mullins said.