Legal cannabis sales in the US state of Missouri topped USD $100 million in February 2023.
The first legal medical marijuana sale occurred in Missouri back in October 2020, and the program went gangbusters from there. But a ballot initiative to legalize recreational use passed by a 53–47 margin on November 8, 2022 and possession became legal on December 8, 2022.
The first licensed sales for adult use occurred on February 3, 2023 – and what a month it had. In February, adult use sales reached $71.7 million and medical cannabis racked up $31.2 million.
While the Missouri medical marijuana program may be easy to access, recreational cannabis access is even easier and as such some registered patients will just use the latter to source cannabis.
As is to be expected when adult-use becomes legal, patient applications have really started to drop off – from a high of 13,753 in March last year down to just 4,388 in February this year. The number of active registered patients is also starting to drop away; from a high of 205,897 in November (around 3 percent of the state’s population), to 197,929 in February.
There are some benefits to maintaining a medical marijuana card; for example, protection from employer discrimination. But if other states that have legalised recreational cannabis are anything to go by, expect the downward trend to continue. As this happens, patients may also find it more difficult or expensive to source the medicines they are accustomed to. This has also been the experience in other states.
But whether it’s adult-use or medical cannabis, marijuana will continue to be a cash cow for Missouri state government coffers. And it’s also helping to support the state’s veterans.
There’s a 6% tax on the retail sale of marijuana for recreational use sold at marijuana dispensary facilities and 4% tax is applied on the retail sale of marijuana for medical use. So, based on February’s figures, the government will rake in $4.3 million from adult use and $1.24 million from medical cannabis sales.
Added to this is the prospect of local sales taxes potentially occurring in some parts of the state – which may make medical cannabis then more attractive.