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Marijuana is legal in Missouri after voters approved Amendment 3 — Now what?

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Posted at 5:06 PM, Nov 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-10 18:59:53-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Now that adult-use cannabis is legal in Missouri, what comes next?

On Tuesday night, voters signed off on Amendment 3, legalizing recreational marijuana in the state.

"(On) Dec. 8, it'll become law," said Josh Mitchum, CEO of Clovr Cannabis. "Then DHSS — they have until Feb. 7 to draft the rules, according to the constitutional language."

And to answer the big question in many people's minds, Mitchum weighed in.

"I would suspect we'll see adult-use sales by mid-February," he said.

Mitchum, who is also a MoCannTrade board member, says it's nose-to-the-grindstone for those preparing to expand their medicinal businesses to adult-use in the next couple months.

He doesn't anticipate it'll be a particularly hard process to convert their licenses to comprehensive cannabis sales.

Similar to other states, they'll likely have to fill out a form and submit it to the Department of Health and Senior Services.

"It just means I've got to ramp up," Mitchum said. "I've got to prepare myself for what's going to happen. We anticipate three to five times the customers coming in. Fortunately, I built my facility to prepare for this, so I have the space but the equipment and the people are a different story."

Mitchum said they're expecting a lot more business, which means cultivation facilities pumping out more product.

Missouri estimates show adult-use cannabis will bring in $40 million a year just in sales tax revenues. The broader impact, they say, is much more.

"You'll go more than half a billion dollars a year that you'll see in Missouri in sales," Jack Cardetti, with the Legal MO 2022 campaign said.

Missouri voters passed medicinal cannabis in 2018 with 66% of the votes, however, Mitchum says only 3% of the population actually got a medical card.

"This is going to help a lot of people who were hesitant to get medical cards," Mitchum said. "It's still very much used medically and some folks were afraid to lose their guns, afraid for different reasons to put their names on a registry. Well, now, you still help them, then also you get the recreational aspect."

By next summer, the state will start accepting micro-business licenses — six for each of the eight congressional districts, totaling 48. It'll go in waves of 48 until all 144 micro-business licenses are handed out via a lottery process.

"There will be two dispensaries per congressional district and then there will be four combined licenses that can manufacture and grow together," Mitchum said. "Those licenses are set aside mainly for minorities in veterans. And it'll be a lottery system to decide who gets those licenses."

The lottery process for the micro-businesses, Mitchum said, will not require millions and millions of dollars to get started, as was the case when the medicinal process rolled out.

He sees it as a gateway to getting a larger license down the road when DHSS opens the market up more.

However, a lottery means that people will have to only hope their number is called.

The state will develop how the lottery will work with other entities that have experience with this.