Missouri Tightens Cannabis Gifting, Sampling Rules as Sales Rise

All giveaways of cannabis must be tracked in the seed-to-sale software.

Missouri regulators have finally clarified the rules surrounding cannabis sampling and product giveaways.

Only dispensary licensees and their employees have ” the authority to sell or distribute (give away) marijuana product to qualifying patients, primary caregivers, and consumers.”

In addition, sampling or giveaways can only take place on the store sales floor.

“There is no scenario where a licensee or agent ID holder working for a licensee may give away, sell or otherwise distribute marijuana to anyone unless they are doing so in an approved area of the dispensary facility and each individual person and product is entered into Metrc appropriately,” the Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation wrote in a Feb. 9 memo.

The rule also means that the state’s licensed cultivators and manufacturers will not be able to give samples or products, and would instead have to transfer the product to a dispensary licensee to facilitate the transaction.

Operators must record each occurrence in the statewide track and trace system, Metrc.

Despite the limitations, the new adult-use market is playing out how analysts xpected in the approaching months: pretty well.

According to state regulators, the industry sold $8.5 million in recreational cannabis and another $4.1 million in medical marijuana during the Feb.3-5 opening weekend, for a grand total of $12,689,965.

Cannabis sales tracking firm Headset found that the Show-Me State brought in more money than 10 other legal adult-use markets, including most mature markets.

An average store brought in around $70,000 that weekend, more than three times the $23,000 average before the launch. Foot traffic nearly tripled, with 250 people a day versus 90 people a day before adult-use.

Data firm BDSA predicted the state market should nab around $270 million-$280 million in adult-use sales in 2023.

Factoring in the maturing medical market, which has seen enormous growth since its October 2020 launch, Missouri could reach $730 million in total legal sales this year.

Legal medical sales totaled around $210 million in 2021, the first full year of sales, and in November, BDSA predicted that legal sales will jump to nearly $365 million in 2022.

The firm expects the market to hit $1 billion in legal sales in 2024.

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson writes about the cannabis industry for the Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri Statehouse for the Columbia Missourian and has written for the Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter at @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.

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