KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Over the past two weeks, medical marijuana sales in Missouri neared $2.5 million per week, adding to a growing tax fund for veterans. It’s a sign that the industry is reaching its stride after the first dispensary opened in October.
The week ending March 19, weekly sales statewide hit $2.4 million. The week following did as well. Total revenue since October is now at $24.6 million. That’s close to a million dollars in sales tax revenue for the Missouri Veteran’s Commission, and industry trade groups say this is just the beginning.
Fresh Green’s Waldo waiting room is a far cry from the stereotype of a pot den. Lavish floral arrangements surround patients before they enter the sales area for another flower: cannabis flower. "Flower" is the term used for the smokable part of the plant.
“We see a boost every time we get new product in,” said Fresh Green owner Bianca Sullivan.
She stood at a sleek table that displayed multiple flavors of infused gummies and drinks in addition to flower and pre-rolled joints. By "new product" she means more than just new infused products but also new strains of flower, the number of which will continue to grow as production expands.
“We get four new strains in and we have two-hour lines,” said Sullivan.
With rules that any products sold in Missouri have to also be grown and manufactured in Missouri, the early months involved demand far outweighing supply. Sullivan would know. Fresh Green’s first location in Lee’s Summit was one of the first in the state to open and was flooded with patients; some came from hours away.
“It was great that that many people came out, but it was frustrating too, to not be able to help the patients like they needed. We had to basically ration all of the products,” Sullivan recalls.
There is no such rationing now but, as a dispensary that has no single exclusive supplier, she still wishes she could get a hold of more of one thing or another.
Members of the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association say the two key factors fueling the revenue gains in recent months both involve variety: products and retail locations. Recent months have seen more and more dispensaries opening their doors.
“People that didn’t want to drive two and three hours now can drive half an hour to get to a dispensary near them, even if they already had their card,” Sullivan reasoned.
Altogether, the state licensed 347 facilities. That includes growing, manufacturing, transporting, testing and retail sales. There are now 106 operational. That’s more than 200 still in the works.
Industry analysts estimate sales will reach at least $200 million annually once everyone’s up and running. That would amount to $8 million in tax revenue.
At this point, there are more states with some legal form of marijuana than without.
The above map shows you where it has been legalized. The states in dark green have legalized recreational use. The states in light green allow medical use only. Only 15 states, shown in white, allow neither. One of those is Kansas, but there’s momentum there too.
On Monday, a Kansas House committee passed a medical marijuana bill, sending it on to the full House.
Missouri’s law passed by a public referendum vote in 2018.