JEFFERSON CITY — Legal marijuana dispensaries could begin selling to customers before early February, faster than originally expected, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Elderly Services said Friday.
Under Missouri’s new constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana, passed by voters Tuesday, medical marijuana companies can apply on December 8 to convert their facilities for “broad” sales.
The state must take action within 60 days, making February 6 the date by which the state would have to approve conversion requests filed on December 8.
But DHSS spokeswoman Lisa Cox told the Post-Dispatch that officials expect to convert licenses “before the 60-day deadline once we’ve filed rules for full facilities.”
Cox said, “We anticipate that comprehensive pharmacies will be able to begin selling to adult consumers once their license to convert is approved.”
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Jack Cardetti, spokesman for the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, said the schedule “likely means Missouri will have one of the quickest and smoothest transitions to adult sales anywhere in the country.”
“It is conceivable that we could start on December 9th, if they have received and approved the request. I think that’s unlikely,” said Mark Hendren, President of Flora Farms. “I think it’s more likely that it will probably last the full 60 days.”
Asked about the DHSS statement that the state probably won’t need 60 days, Hendren said, “Well, that would be great.”
He said, “We are ready” for legalization. In addition to growing cannabis, Hendren said Flora operates three dispensaries and is acquiring two more.
“We have enough product in our facility that is ready or will be ready in the next 60 days,” Hendren said. “We are ready to supply everyone.”
The new constitutional amendment also allows self-cultivation with state permission. Cox said the state “will begin accepting applications for adult personal cultivation in the first week of January or before the first week of January.”
She said the change prohibits the department from issuing new “comprehensive” licenses “for 548 days after December 8, 2022.”
The change also allows for smaller “micro” business licenses.
“The Department will begin accepting applications for micro-enterprises in or before the first week of September 2023,” Cox said.
Although many groups and elected officials called for his defeat, voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 3 by a majority of 53% to 47%.
Missouri is now among 21 states that have legalized recreational cannabis. Maryland voters also approved the legalization on Tuesday.
The state released the draft marijuana regulation Thursday and is accepting comments through Nov. 25.