Missouri marijuana sales top $102 million during first month of adult-use market

Published on March 6, 2023
Nearly 200 medical marijuana dispensaries began serving all adults on Feb. 3, 2023. (Illustration: Sasha Beck / Leafly)

Missouri scored a whopping $102.9 million in cannabis sales last month, according to data released by the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services. Nearly $72 million of the total sales came from recreational cannabis, with the other roughly $31 million coming from medical sales.

Within hours of flipping the switch to recreational cannabis on Feb. 3, three days earlier than originally planned, Missouri’s 195 legal dispensaries had racked up over $12 million in combined sales revenue. The newly released total for February suggests consumer enthusiasm continued to be strong throughout the month.

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$4 million per day in February

“We’re really blown away by the amount of excitement here for adult-use cannabis,” Jack Cardetti, spokesman for the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association, told Leafly. “To see this kind of sales money in the shortest month of the year, and considering rec had only 25 days and a soft launch, it’s a testament to our industry and regulators.”

Recreational cannabis sales, taxed at 6%, brought $4.3 million to state coffers last month while sales of medical weed, taxed at 4%, raised more than $1.2 million.

The state’s previous high for monthly marijuana sales was Dec. 2022, in which the medical-only industry topped $40 million for the first time. Missouri began medical sales in Oct. 2020 and averaged about $33 million in monthly sales revenue last year.

Few lines, plenty of supply

Cardetti, who represents the state’s largest weed lobby, credited Missouri’s existing infrastructure of medical facilities and lessons learned from nearly two dozen other adult-use states for February’s better-than-expected sales numbers. Hardly any Missouri dispensaries reported problems from long lines, supply issues, limited product selection and high prices, all of which have handcuffed other states in recent years.

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Missouri’s ‘opt out’ solution is a winner

And unlike many rec states that require counties and municipalities to “opt in” to adult-use sales, Missouri necessitates the opposite. In essence, everyone’s in unless local voters choose to formally reject cannabis sales. Cardetti said having most of its cities in the fold has offered people from across the state — and even neighboring states like Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas — nearby access to legal cannabis.

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“We’ve heard of very, very few local governments that are looking to opt out,” Cardetti said. “And that’s one of the reasons our dispensaries are so evenly spread out.”

Surpassing expectations

Cannabis consultant John Payne served as the campaign manager for Legal Missouri 2022, which championed Amendment 3 to legalize possession of up to three ounces of cannabis flower or its equivalent in other weed produce for all adults age 21 and older. After years of monitoring the two dozen other states to pass rec before the Show-Me State, Payne’s team estimated that Missouri would land between $70 and $80 million in total sales during the first month of rec.

When news of the nearly $103 million tally reached his desk Friday, Payne was pleasantly surprised.

‘There was a lot of pent-up demand’

“I think there was a lot of pent-up demand,” he said. “A lot of people who qualify as patients in Missouri and would be interested in purchasing medical marijuana were hesitant at first because of potential conflicts with gun ownership laws. Rec does away with most of those concerns and I think many people now feel more comfortable with purchasing the plant.”

“To go just 87 days from passing Amendment 3 to making the first recreational cannabis sale was incredible, but to do $100 million in sales during a shortened month is spectacular,” he added. “We put in pretty aggressive timelines to get this program running and it’s been very successful so far, all things considered.”

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Chris Kudialis
Chris Kudialis
Chris Kudialis is the media’s authority on cannabis in Nevada, and author of the 2024 book Weed and Loathing in Las Vegas. Chris began covering the beat as a reporter with the Review-Journal in 2015, then moved to the Las Vegas Sun before starting with Leafly.
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