LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — A man battling cancer was the first of more than 100 people lined up on Monday to legally purchase medical marijuana in the Kansas City metro.
"People have been waiting for this a long time," BJ Works said. "Now it's finally legal. Helps with my anxiety, and I don't have to take opioids for my cancer anymore. I'm set for life now."
Works' was the first legal sale in the Kansas City metro, making the purchase shortly after noon on Monday at Fresh Green, 1041 Northeast Sam Walton Lane, in Lee's Summit.
"Its a landmark day," said Rob Sullivan, co-owner of Fresh Green.
He and his wife, Bianca, are attorneys who decided to delve into the marijuana industry.
Pam McCowan said she had butterflies in her stomach and could hardly stand still.
"And we're right around the corner. I don't have to get on the road and drive three-and-a-half hours to Arkansas to get my medicine," McCowan said. "So, I'm excited. I'm so happy it's here. The day has come, let's celebrate."
First customer in line about to make the first purchase. He says this will help him with his pain, anxiety, and he no longer has to take opiates related to his cancer diagnosis. @41actionnews @freshgreenmo pic.twitter.com/Cn3CWBaQkA— Sarah Plake (@SarahPlakeTV) October 19, 2020
Supplies and marijuana varieties remain limited as cultivation operations also begin to ramp up across the state.
Few different strains available. But soon more cultivators will be harvesting and more dispensaries will open. No gummies/edibles/oils yet - that’s coming in next couple months. @41actionnews pic.twitter.com/1wnOdByUgF— Sarah Plake (@SarahPlakeTV) October 19, 2020
Fresh Green restricted sales on Monday to one-eighth of an ounce due to the shorter supply, but the temporary measure is expected to end after the first few weeks . An eighth, or 3.5 grams of medical marijuana, cost $60.
Only flower, or bud, and pre-ground flower are available. Edibles, oils and tinctures will be ready in the next couple months.
Fresh Green currently offers four strains: Purple Punch, Drago, Critical Mass and Paris XXX OG, which are part of the Archimedes cultivation facility's Solhaus brand.
Archimedes is based in Perryville, an hour and a half south of St. Louis.
"I want to bring it to as many patients as possible," Sullivan said. "People have had their cards and are ready to get it. I felt it was important - part of our limit is so that all the people in the line can buy something today."
Despite the limitations, Fresh Green, which plans to open a store at 7130 Wornall Road in Kansas City, Missouri, was a popular place to be Monday as the noon grand opening approached.
"Never thought I'd see it in my lifetime," John Trank said. "Never thought I'd be able to walk in a store, buy pot and walk out and not be hassled by cops or anything."
Trank said he moved from Kansas to Missouri because of medical marijuana. He said the police busted him for an illegal grow when he lived in Kansas. He said he suffers from PTSD and back pain, so marijuana helps.
Cissy Kocourek said, who was waiting in line with friends, said she was thrilled.
"This has been a long time coming," Kocourek said. "This is going to help so many people. A lot of people are going to get their medicine."
It has been nearly two years since Missouri voters approved the constitutional amendment that made medical marijuana legal in the state. More than 65% of voters supported legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri.
Jack Cardetti with the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association said the medical marijuana industry will bring half a billion dollars into the state as it rolls out.
"We know through the recession a lot of places are hurting and tax revenues are down," Cardetti said. "We think the medical marijuana industry coming online right now is the perfect timing for some of these communities."
Missouri DHSS approved nine licenses for manufacturing operations — including infused products such as edibles, oils, tinctures and other items — in the Kansas City area.
The state’s process for awarding those licenses drew criticism from hopeful small business owners, who said it was anti-competitive and boxed them out in favor of out-of-state corporate interests.
The delays in opening dispensaries also created questions about the legality of possession by lawful medical marijuana cardholders.
To buy medical marijuana in Missouri, the state must approve and issue a Missouri Medical Marijuana Qualifying Patient Card and that person must present a valid government-issued photo ID.
Cash and debit card transactions are required, as federal regulations prohibit purchases made with a credit card.
There’s already a push to see if Missouri voters will elect to legalize recreational marijuana, though it’s unclear when or if a proposal will go before voters.