AP

Legal recreational pot sales begin for Missouri adults

Feb 3, 2023, 2:23 PM | Updated: 2:29 pm

Maria Colarelli, left, assists customer Gregory Williams with his purchase of a marijuana product a...

Maria Colarelli, left, assists customer Gregory Williams with his purchase of a marijuana product at Good Day Farm dispensary Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, in St. Louis. Recreational marijuana sales were allowed to begin on Friday in Missouri after the state's health department gave approval. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Recreational marijuana sales in Missouri officially began Friday after the state health department unexpectedly began approving dispensary permits early.

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since a ballot measure passed in 2018, but voters went a step further this November by approving a constitutional amendment legalizing the drug for anyone 21 or older. The new law made Missouri the 21st state to allow recreational use.

Under the amendment, non-medicinal pot use became legal in the state in December. But sales were stalled because the health department had until Friday to issue business licenses.

Almost all of the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries applied to sell recreational pot, according to Lisa Cox, spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Senior Services.

Of the medical marijuana facilities that applied to sell cannabis recreationally, 335 were approved as of Friday. That includes 207 dispensaries, 72 manufacturers and 56 cultivation facilities, according to the agency.

Close to 200 dispensaries were inspected Friday and given the go-ahead to sell to consumers.

Ryan Herget, CEO of Good Day Farm, said the company expects sales at its 19 Missouri stores, which previously only sold cannabis for medical use, to double or triple. He said the company hired about 200 new employees in anticipation of increased demand.

One of the company’s first customers Friday was Gregory Williams, 55, of St. Louis, who welcomed the legalization of marijuana.

“It means a little liberation, a little less red tape,” along with revenue for the city and for business people, Williams said. He plans to buy weekly.

Teresa Gooch, 62, of Troy, Missouri, said she recently had a medical procedure and uses marijuana for pain relief. She said it’s “amazing” to be able to go to a store and try different strains to see what works best.

Adults who want to grow their own cannabis can now apply for a permit through the health department.

If the agency does not approve or deny licenses by Friday, dispensaries that previously only sold medical marijuana will automatically be permitted to sell recreational pot as well.

Missouri’s constitutional amendment to legalize recreational pot use also called for the expungement of records of past arrests and convictions for nonviolent marijuana offenses, except for selling to minors or driving under the influence.

More than 5,200 past crimes had been wiped from Missourians’ records as of Thursday.

AP photojournalist Jeff Roberson in St. Louis contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

3 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

4 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

11 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

12 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

14 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Legal recreational pot sales begin for Missouri adults