Though adult-use cannabis sales are expected to launch next month in Missouri, some hopeful market entrants aren’t thrilled that medical permit holders will have the state to themselves for a year before more retailers are allowed to apply for licensure.
“It’s unfortunate for those smaller businesses who are, you know, trying to get into the industry and realizing that there is a big corporate stranglehold on the industry,” J.C. Cirese, owner of Kansas City company Dr. Smoke on Broadway, told KMBC 9.
Though existing dispensaries can begin sales as soon as Feb. 6, according to a timeline from the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, the soonest that stakeholders such as Cirese might be able to get a permit to sell cannabis as a microbusiness will be in December, perhaps later.
That will give the 212 licensed dispensaries in the state a major leg up on future competition. And future entrants like Cirese will reportedly have to go through a lottery with fingers crossed in order to get permission to open additional cannabis stores.
“Hopefully Missouri is as fair and allows, you know, underprivileged people and people of color, small businesses to participate because that’s very valuable to this industry, to all industries, to have a good, competitive, free market,” said Cirese, who currently sells only “marijuana derivatives.”
The upcoming Missouri adult-use cannabis market will, however, be one of the fastest in the country to launch, since voters in the state approved a ballot measure to legalize recreational only two months ago.