Missouri Struggling To Balance Legalized Marijuana With Inevitable Controversy

This month, hundreds of entrepreneurs were granted permits to conduct medical marijuana business in Missouri. The licenses provide access to several facets of the weed industry, from cultivation, to safety testing, to sales. It even provides stringent guidelines in how to cook up edible the right way. More licenses expanding access points are expected by the end of the month.

But that’s not enough. Only one out of every six applicants received a license to sell. 

What does that mean? The obvious: angry letters, marijuana litigation, appeals, and lobbying. Everything you’d expect of a potentially billion-dollar industry in its infant stages. Missouri isn’t alone. This was the same reaction received in every other state that has legalized medical or recreational marijuana.

Not every state has provided marijuana licenses the same way, though. In Arizona, a basic lottery was conducted. When Florida tried to implement a similar system, the state was promptly sued. After all, why shouldn’t the best applicant be the one to get the first license? Why should it be randomized when the inferior applicants are so much more likely to fail?

Missouri residents began applying for medical marijuana cards as early as June. That resulted in about 1,000 new patients every week. 

New states will most likely legalize recreational marijuana soon. Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota are all poised to get on the ballot in 2020. There may be others. That means the wave is most definitely upon us. Make no mistake, this is a domino effect in progress.

Other states are planning to put medical marijuana on the ballot instead, deciding on a more incremental approach to legalization. Idaho, Mississippi, and Nebraska are among them. South Dakota will likely add a measure to the ballot as well.

Springfield News-Leader reported: “Pro-cannabis types laud marijuana for its capacity to manage pain, wean people from opioids and improve life for people with terminal disease. But due to federal prohibition, little traditional scientific research on cannabis as medicine has been done in the United States, so many of these claims rely on experiential ideas more than empirical study.”

Desmond Morris is the proud owner of Wholesome Bud Company in Springfield, but also Pride Auto Dealing. It seems everyone wants a piece of the new marijuana industry. Still, he says, “The patient is going to be most impacted by this.”

Even though his business is ready, he was denied a license. So was every other Springfield grower. 

He said, “I’m feeling like the goalposts got moved. Not on purpose, but whenever people do things, they make mistakes. When groups do things, they make mistakes.”

And that’s the point. He wants fewer mistakes to be made so the process can become fairer in the future.