Missouri has a new billion-dollar industry.
Cumulative sales for marijuana reportedly topped that lofty threshold in the Show Me State earlier this month, just three months after the adult-use marijuana market launched there, and nearly three years after medical cannabis was made legal in Missouri.
Local news station KOMU reports that “Missouri surpassed $1 billion in legal cannabis sales on May 2,” an impressive milestone driven by strong recreational pot sales.
According to the station, in the three months since the state’s recreational cannabis market launched on February 3, “Missouri has sold $350.2 million, including $256.2 million of adult-use cannabis and $94 million in medical marijuana.”
Medical cannabis sales in Missouri began in October of 2020.
“For comparison, Illinois, which has twice Missouri’s population, sold a total of $188.1 million in the first three months of adult use sales in January through March 2020,” the station reported.
The early returns were promising after the state’s recreational cannabis industry launched in early February.
In that first month, Missouri dispensaries raked in more than $100 million in marijuana sales, with $72 million coming from recreational cannabis sales and $31 million coming from medical cannabis.
Andrew Mullins, executive director of the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association (MOCann), said that the opening month of regulated sales of adult-use cannabis in the state eclipsed the launch of recreational pot sales in neighboring Illinois in 2020.
“That’s more than double what Illinois did in a state with twice the population,” Andrew Mullins, the executive director of the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association, said at the time. “So it really shows the interest and excitement for the new adult-use industry in Missouri.”
“Canna-tourism folks that may decide to come to Missouri to access and utilize cannabis,” Mullins added. “That seems to also be having an impact on the amount of sales that Missouri’s experiencing.”
Mullins sang a similar tune in comments to KOMU this week.
“Missouri’s newest billion-dollar industry is experiencing significant job growth, providing great products and services to Missourians, and becoming an integral part to the local economy throughout the state,” Mullins said, as quoted by the news station. “Missouri has avoided so many of the early hiccups that other states have experienced transitioning from a medical cannabis program focusing on quality, affordability, access and selection. Missouri’s cannabis program could not have gotten off to a better start. A sincere thank you to all the patients, customers, and small business owners that helped Missouri reach this impressive milestone.”
Voters in Missouri last year approved Amendment 3, which legalized recreational cannabis for adults aged 21 and older in the state.
The amendment passed by a vote of 53% to 47%.
According to KOMU, the state “has now surpassed 14,800 direct jobs in the [cannabis] industry, and early indications are that these jobs pay higher than cannabis jobs in many other states.”
The new law has also resulted in the expungement of thousands of prior pot-related convictions in the state.
The Riverfront Times reported in March that the “majority of expunged convictions so far [were] misdemeanors.” At that time, the paper reported, courts in the state had “granted 6,121 expungements for misdemeanors related to nonviolent cannabis offenses that did not involve selling to minors or driving under the influence of cannabis,” while more than 1,200 “felony convictions have also been expunged.”
Local news station FOX4 reports that, as of this week, “more than 31,000 past marijuana convictions have been expunged.”
“Part of the 6% sales tax buyers pay on adult use marijuana sales funds automatic expungements. The state believes the number of expunged cases will increase quickly in coming months,” the station reports.