ST. LOUIS — Missourians who have been issued medical marijuana cards are losing patience.
"We, the people, directed our government to facilitate medical marijuana sales in Missouri. When will the first patient be able to make a purchase?" a reader wrote to the Business Journal. "The impression I’ve developed is that the state has completely failed to implement the change that the body politic crammed down their throats almost two years ago."
"I get their frustration. When people go to the polls and vote for medical marijuana, they think it should be available in a couple of months," said Mitch Meyers, an operating partner at BeLeaf Medical, which was awarded three cultivation licenses, two manufacturing licenses and five dispensary licenses, all in the St. Louis area.
Nonetheless, "You have to have plants to get medicine," and growing marijuana takes time, Meyers said. "Our first crop will be available Oct. 1 for dispensaries," and about 100 dispensaries statewide expect to begin selling this fall.
BeLeaf's five dispensaries are in The Grove, on Cherokee Street, on Delmar Boulevard, and in Ellisville and St. Peters, all under the Swade Cannabis Dispensary branch.
Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana in November 2018 — and though that may seem like a long lag time for the 58,000 Missouri medical marijuana cardholders — it's been a relatively speedy process compared with other states, Meyers said.
"Missouri has been faster than almost any other state because the constitutional language spelled out the rules and regulations," including how many days were allowed for each step of the process, she said. "The state had to hire people to execute it — they couldn't be hired before the constitutional amendment was passed. They did that by May 2019, applications were submitted in September, and awards were made in December and January. Think about it, that's relatively fast."
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