Missouri Has Legalized Marijuana, But People Can’t Buy It Yet

As of Thursday, Missouri has legalized the possession and use of marijuana by adults. That doesn’t imply you can use it anywhere or purchase it legally just yet.

Voters went one step further this November by approving a constitutional amendment legalizing the substance for anybody over the age of 21. Medical marijuana has been allowed in the state since a referendum measure passed in 2018.

As a result of the new law, Missouri is the 21st state to permit recreational usage.

Confusion is brought on by the modification. Dispensaries cannot currently offer products for recreational use, for example. The ability to grow ones own will eventually be available, but applications won’t be accepted until next month.

And the medication can still be banned in public settings like workplaces and schools.

According to John Mueller, co-founder of Greenlight Dispensaries, calls from customers who are perplexed about the new law and the reason they can’t yet purchase it from the dispensaries are coming into the company’s 15 Missouri locations.

In anticipation of the anticipated increase in revenue, Mueller’s company aims to add 300 positions at locations for cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensaries.

“I think everyone is anxious and thrilled about adult usage,” Mueller said. Every dollar we make a sale of stays out of the illegal market.

Owner Jason Crady stated that recreational consumers are “24-7” contacting and emailing the Missouri Wild Alchemy dispensary in O’Fallon.

There is a lot of talk about it, according to Crady, who is busily recruiting and preparing staff for recreational sales.

The FDA hasn’t indicated when existing medicinal shops will be permitted to sell to recreational users, but John Payne, a leader in the push to legalize marijuana, said recreational sales will probably start in February.

By the beginning of 2025, the state is anticipated to provide licenses to 144 more dispensaries.

For those wishing to cultivate a small amount of their own marijuana, personal cultivation application papers will be made available on January 7 according to Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services spokeswoman Lisa Cox.

The University of Missouri System announced on Wednesday that smoking marijuana will continue to be prohibited on its four campuses and at university-sponsored events, citing two federal laws, the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug-Free Workplace Act, as justification.

Students who violate the ban may be subject to disciplinary action up to expulsion.

Some law enforcement officials are worried that legalization would lead to an increase in drunk driving.

According to Kevin Merritt, executive director of the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association, police find it more challenging to determine someone’s level of intoxication from marijuana because there is no test that can be compared to blood-alcohol tests, which determine intoxication levels in people who have consumed alcohol.

Merritt said, “In essence, what do they (the officers) see in the way the vehicle operates?” “What did the official notice and smell as they approached the car? What actions or signs of impairment did they see throughout the person’s operation of the vehicle to support their claim that they were impaired? ”

In addition, the amendment mandates the erasure of criminal records for the majority of individuals serving time in prison or under probation for a minor marijuana crime.

President Joe Biden announced in October that he was pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of simple possession under federal law. Kansas City and St. Louis are among the jurisdictions that have stopped prosecuting misdemeanor possession.

It’s part of a larger movement toward decriminalizing low-level marijuana crimes that have gained traction in recent years.

Missouri is bordered by eight states, only one of which, Illinois, permits the sale of recreational marijuana, so dispensaries in Missouri anticipate a large influx of out-of-state customers.

Payne predicts that Missouri will experience yearly sales of up to $1.3 billion if the program is fully operational.

The 36-year-old Joplin, Missouri resident Ron Burch already has a medical marijuana card and is aware of the high demand for recreational marijuana.

Looking ahead to February, Burch predicted that there would be a mad rush to stock up on merchandise for the customers who would be knocking on the doors in droves.

Owner of a medical dispensary in the town of St. Clair in eastern Missouri, Larry Stiffelman, said recreational sales are essential because his company is still having trouble turning a profit as a result of high taxes.

In terms of business volume, Stiffelman said, “I can tell you that the sales will probably triple or quadruple per store.”

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