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‘Pleasantly surprised.’ Missouri marijuana sales start Friday. There’s just one catch

Update: Sales have begun in Kansas City. Here are the dispensaries that have obtained their licenses.

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Missouri will allow the first dispensaries to begin selling marijuana for recreational use on Friday.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will begin converting medical marijuana licenses to adult use licenses on Friday. But it’s unclear when each dispensary will be approved.

Dispensaries had been expecting the licensure change on Friday, but many were under the impression that adult sales wouldn’t be permitted to start until Monday.

“Pleasantly surprised,” said Cardetti, the spokesman for the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association.

While it’s unclear when the state approvals will roll out, Cardetti said he expects dispensaries to begin selling to the public as soon as possible.

“We do think sales will begin tomorrow,” Cardetti said on Thursday.

So how will consumers know which dispensaries are approved and when?

“They absolutely ought to contact their dispensaries and check,” he said.

Bianca Sullivan plans to wake up at 5 a.m. Friday and start checking her email. She owns a Fresh Green dispensary in Lee’s Summit and in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City.

“I’ll just be there waiting with the staff. It’s just frustrating,” she said.

Like others, Sullivan had been planning on big crowds for Monday’s opening day. But now, she’s scrambling to ensure she has enough staff, product and security to handle customers through the weekend.

“Maybe we don’t have a huge line Monday morning,” she said. “So it might be good if it’s busy but not crazy this weekend.”

State officials said most medical marijuana dispensaries in good standing — which most are — will see their licenses converted on Friday.

“We anticipate approvals tomorrow being a fairly quick notification process,” said DHSS spokeswoman Lisa Cox.

Missouri voters approved the constitutional amendment legalizing adult recreational marijuana in November with 53.1% of votes in favor, making the state one of 21 that allow the drug.

The amendment legalized recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21, created a licensing system for businesses wanting to sell or grow marijuana and allows people with non-violent weed charges to have their records expunged.

The vote was a big win for Missouri’s medical marijuana industry and was backed by many of the current players in the industry. The ballot measure was led by the architects of the successful 2018 campaign to legalize medical marijuana.

John Payne, the campaign manager for Legal Missouri 2022, the primary group that crafted the amendment, told The Star Thursday that he was a little bit surprised that the state decided to begin converting licenses on Friday — sooner than most expected.

Payne said he expects the state to be able to convert all of the licenses for facilities in good standing in one day. Asked if he felt the process would create an unfair advantage for facilities that aren’t immediately converted, Payne said the difference would be “negligible.”

“Whatever kinks there are will be able to get worked out pretty quickly,” he said.



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