Show-Me State Shows How To Make Medicinal Cannabis Properly | Guest comments


It’s been just over a year since a patient’s first legal purchase of medical cannabis in Missouri, but make no mistake: From patient care to the economic impact to job creation, the program in full swing. Show-Me State’s rise is on par with patients and on the promise of a new industry.

The numbers alone are impressive. There are:

  • Over 300 facilities operating statewide as growers, manufacturers, testing labs, carriers, and retail outlets.
  • Almost 165,000 patients and caregivers. That puts Missouri in the top 8, by listing, among 36 states that have approved medical cannabis, ahead of places like New York, New Jersey and even neighboring Illinois, which has more than double the population.
  • Over 6,000 newly created jobs.

Beyond the data, the work of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Section for the Director of Medical Marijuana Regulation Lyndall Fraker, a native of Marshfield, and his team to oversee and monitor program deployment and compliance in the midst of a nearly two-year global pandemic. deserves special praise.

Even under the most ideal circumstances, the combination of implementing a new government regulatory structure while business owners attempt to build a whole new industry from scratch can be time consuming and tedious.

Of the 21 states that have implemented medical marijuana laws with a formal regulatory system, the national average for implementation is 29 months.

In the case of Missouri, it took 23 months from voter approval in November 2018 of what is now Section XIV of the state Constitution until that first sale in October 2020.

Only five of those other 20 states have done so earlier – and none with the hurdles created by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Missouri’s commitment to statewide patient access deserves to be further developed. With a total of 385 licensed and certified medical cannabis facilities, including nearly 200 retail dispensaries, Missourians can safely and fully purchase medical marijuana in their own communities, not just in and near. large population centers like St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield.

This is the largest number of such facilities in the United States, with the exception of Oklahoma, where lax regulations and enforcement saw a flourishing illicit market that led the State Office of the cannabis to seek outside help.

When problems arise, Missouri’s marijuana program has been largely responsive, not responsive.

Case in point: Last summer, DHSS sent an orientation email to licensed operators essentially banning companies from advertising in-store promotions and other patient discounts – a critical loophole that has had an impact. impact not only on the patient portfolio, but also on their ability to be fully informed. on the myriad of products and consumption patterns available.

In early November, after receiving important feedback from patients and operators, the department presented its proposed new rules with detailed clarification that allows licensed dispensaries to hold promotional events and publicize award discounts, along with a mandatory warning.

Here at the American Trade Association for Cannabis & Hemp (ATACH), the country’s leading national cannabis trade association, the new year promises to be another eventful one, with potential voting metrics for adults who are prosecuted in a number of states, including Missouri. , even as members of Congress on both sides of the aisle continue to press ahead with federal cannabis reform.

The people of Missouri can have confidence in the state’s agenda and look to a bright future for the prospect of cannabis legalization.

We are grateful that Missouri patients now have access to the drugs they desperately need, commend operators and regulators for their efforts to date, and look forward to hearing about the growth and success at the heart of the world. America in the coming months.

Michael Bronstein is co-founder and president of the American Trade Association for Cannabis & Hemp (ATACH), the leading 501 (c) (6) U.S. cannabis industry trade organization promoting expansion and protection legal sales of cannabis and hemp for industrial purposes. , medical and adult use.

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