On November 8, 2022, voters in Missouri approved a ballot initiative legalizing the recreational use of cannabis by a 53-47 margin. Subsequently, adults aged 21 and above were legally allowed to possess cannabis on December 8, 2022, while the first licensed sales took place on February 3, 2023. The move comes as a growing number of states are loosening restrictions on the use of cannabis, and it is expected to have significant implications for both the local economy and residents’ daily lives.
Owners of Excelsior Springs’ local marijuana dispensary, Kansas City Cannabis, had anticipated the start of sales for recreational purposes to begin on February 6. However, licensees throughout Missouri received an email on February 2 stating that sales could begin as soon as their license was approved. Since KC Cannabis had already applied for and received approval they were able to begin sales that same day. They received the email at around 6:30 a.m. that morning and promptly notified staff and customers via social media. Despite having to quickly adjust their plans, the store’s newly hired staff performed well on the unexpectedly busy first day of sales.
KC Cannabis said they have experienced significant increases in traffic since beginning recreational sales, with approximately three times the amount of patients and consumers than before. The first weekend of sales was particularly busy, with lines forming outside the store. The store saw a large influx on Friday, the third, and remained steady throughout the weekend.
According to some estimates, recreational marijuana sales in Missouri could reach $550 million in the first year and potentially increase to $800 million-$900 million in four years which would mean an additional $33-$48 Million in revenue for Missouri. According to Greenway magazine, the first weekend of recreational sales brought in over $12 million. While this total includes both recreational and medical sales, the recreational sales alone were double the amount generated by Illinois on its first weekend of recreational sales in 2020, signaling a potential financial success.
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