Medical marijuana dispensaries that have been approved to carry cannabis for adults 21 and older can start selling it Feb. 6.
The “vast majority” of medical marijuana facilities in Missouri, up to 97%, have applied to add adult-use marijuana to their inventory, said Lisa Cox, communications director with the Department of Health and Senior Services.
Any remaining applications by dispensaries asking to convert to a comprehensive license must be completed by Feb. 6, Cox said.
Adults have been legally able to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana since Dec. 8. As of Feb. 6, however, they will be able to purchase up to 3 ounces from a licensed dispensary in Missouri.
Adults who plan to buy marijuana from a legal dispensary must present a valid government-issued ID to do so. Some dispensaries will accept debit card payments, while others will take cash only.
Dispensaries are unable to accept credit card payments because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.
The provisions around adult-use marijuana were spelled out in Amendment 3, which passed Nov. 8 with 53.1% voter approval. Missouri became the 21st state to legalize recreational cannabis during that election.
Under the new regulations, medical marijuana patients can now possess up to 6 ounces within a 30-day period, a change from the previous 4-ounce limit, according to the DHSS.
All purchases will have a 6% state sales tax added to the bill. Proceeds from the tax will be divided among veterans’ services, drug addiction treatment and Missouri’s public defender system, as outlined in Amendment 3.
Local governments can also impose an additional tax up to 3%, although medical marijuana purchases will continue to have a 4% tax rate, according to the DHSS.
The Columbia City Council has approved a measure for the April 4 ballot to ask voters whether to authorize a 3% tax on recreational marijuana purchases in the city.
The Boone County Commission has OK’d a similar 3% tax measure for the April 4 ballot that would apply to purchases of recreational marijuana in the county.
In all jurisdictions, public smoking of marijuana will be prohibited wherever tobacco smoking is prohibited, according to the amendment. The penalty for smoking marijuana in an undesignated area will be no more than a $100 fine and a civil penalty.
Driving under the influence is not permitted, along with use of marijuana in the workplace or on school grounds, selling marijuana outside the regulated system or taking marijuana into another state.
In Columbia, High Profile dispensary on Interstate 70 Drive is preparing to expand to adult-use consumers on Feb. 7. High Profile is owned by C3 Industries, which has 20 locations across three states, including five in Missouri.
Angela Augustine, director of stores, said the state looked at the dispensary’s performance from inventory and compliance perspectives to make certain there were no serious infractions during the application process.
At High Profile, buyers will be guided through the purchasing process with an employee called a “budtender.”
Once customers check in with their ID, the budtender will greet them and take them into the sales floor, or bud room.
High Profile operates on a 1-1 ratio of customers to budtenders on the sales floor. The state guidelines require at least a 3-1 ratio.
“I think the environment that we create, the relationship that we build with the patients and customers is something that High Profile is really passionate about,” said Abby Kramer, area manager for Missouri.
The budtender will ask customers what they’re looking to get out of their marijuana experience and how they want to consume the plant, to “help lead them in the direction that would be most helpful for them,” Kramer said.
High Profile sells marijuana in various forms including buds, edibles, pre-rolled joints, patches, vapes, concentrates, topicals and tinctures, which are drops to place under the tongue.
It carries a wide variety of strains of marijuana that give the consumer different experiences, Kramer said.
Cost will vary widely, depending on what form of marijuana is purchased, how concentrated it is and what strain it is, Kramer said. Prices can range from $10 for a 1-gram pre-roll to more than $300 for an ounce of the raw bud, according to High Profile’s website.
High Profile also sells its own brand of flower called Cloud Clover, which is cultivated in Missouri.
The next step of the marijuana roll-out plan outlined in the amendment is personal cultivation. DHSS will be accepting applications for personal cultivation beginning Feb. 6, according to the department.
Microbusiness application forms will be available by June 6, and the department will begin accepting applications on or before Sept. 4.
A microbusiness dispensary or wholesale facility is “designed to provide a path to facility ownership for individuals who otherwise might not easily access that opportunity,” according to the website.
This includes those with a net worth of less than $250,000, veterans with a service-related disability, or those who have been negatively impacted by marijuana prohibition.