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‘It’s completely full circle’: Man becomes dispensary owner after marijuana arrest

Applications for Missouri’s microlicense program due today
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Posted at 3:48 PM, Apr 29, 2024

PLATTE CITY, Mo. — A new door will soon open for Jimi Poe. He’s renovating a storefront at a Platte City, Missouri, strip center into a marijuana dispensary.

The move comes about 18 years after a prison door closed on Poe. He was sentenced to 14 months in prison in 2006 for selling marijuana.

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“I’ve been doing nothing since 2006 but trying to hide that cannabis crime and conviction because when people find out you have a felony on your record, they look at you completely different,” Poe said.

Even after getting the conviction expunged, Poe’s previous non-violent conviction made him eligible for Missouri’s microbusiness program.

The program levels the playing field for “little guys” who want to enter the legal marijuana industry. In 2023, the state awarded 48 licenses. It’s accepting applications for round two of licenses until 11:59 p.m. today. Next year, it will issue another 48 licenses in round three.

Applicants must meet one of five eligibility criteria to apply:

  • Been convicted of a non-violent marijuana offense
  • Be a disabled veteran
  • Have a net worth of $250,000 or less and have an annual income of less than 250% of the federal poverty level which equals roughly $37,650 for an individual.
  • Live in an underserved ZIP code or census tract as measured on income levels, employment rates or rates of incarceration for marijuana-related offenses.
  • Graduate from a unaccredited school district, or live within a ZIP code containing a unaccredited school district.

“I’m really happy the state of Missouri was able to put that criteria in for me to allow me to get into this industry,” Poe explained.
He’ll open 816 Dispensary at 2701 Running Horse Road, Suite G, Platte City, Mo. late this year. Microdispensaries operate a lot like comprehensive or traditional dispensaries, but they have to source their products from wholesalers and cultivators in the microbusiness program. None of the wholesalers who won licenses last October are up and running yet, forcing Poe to wait.

John Payne works at Saint Louis-based Amendment 2 Consultants where he helps marijuana businesses get off the ground. He understands the chicken and egg nature of the micro industry.

“It was kind of a question of what's gonna be the best for that overall system and make sure that there's the best chance for the people that win those licenses as a whole to succeed,” Payne said.

Poe is targeting a December opening and knows patience — and a little irony — is required to open doors.

“All that talk then that I wasn’t going to sell cannabis again and I’m now about to open up my own dispensary,” Poe reflected. “It’s completely full circle for me right now. I’m super stoked.”