ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Marijuana dispensaries across Missouri raked in roughly $12.7 million this weekend between medical and recreational sales, but not every city is on board.
The Des Peres City Administrator told 5 On Your Side's Laura Barczeski that they are holding off allowing recreational marijuana permits for 90 days.
They said they need more time to look at all of their options while many cities around them are already letting the cash roll in.
In the first weekend alone, recreational sales totaled more than $8.5 million and medical sales brought in another $4 million according to data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
“On the first week of Illinois sales -- that total $11 million -- we already surpassed that in the first three days. So really off to a strong start. There's clearly a ton of excitement,” Jack Cardetti, with the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association, said.
Many dispensaries were expecting to start three days later than they did and had to adjust their plans.
“We certainly saw a lot of fresh faces, roughly three to four times the amount of customers that we would normally see. We understood our partners on the Kansas City side had an even bigger turnout,” Jason Nelson, CEO of Beleaf Medical and Swade Dispensaries, said.
But it was a welcome surprise they were ready for.
“Missouri was positioned as a very successful market of both strong inventory...very competitive prices...certainly compared to our neighbor state in Illinois,” Nelson said.
Right now, the state is the only one raking in a 6% sales tax and that money is going towards clearing criminal marijuana charges.
“We're really proud that the 6% sales tax you pay when you go into a dispensary goes to clear that off of records. Also, it'll go toward substance abuse programs and then veterans' health care,” Cardetti said.
The cities will also have their turn.
Many of them have already sent a 3% sales tax proposal to the ballots in April, but in the City of Des Peres they are not sure they want recreational marijuana.
“We are looking at the law which allows us to prohibit them in Des Peres. That's one of the things that's on the table should it be regulated, or should we prohibit it? And if we do, then it takes an election November of 2024,” Des Peres City Administrator Douglas Harms said.
Harms said the one approved medical dispensary has not opened its doors yet and there is a lot for the city to consider including ordinances and land use.
“Traffic and parking were big concerns for the medicinal marijuana facility of the adjoining from the adjoining businesses and from the adjoining residential neighborhoods. The other issue, frankly, is it's a cash business. So, from the police department's perspective, what does that mean,” Harms said.
There are still a lot of unknowns in Des Peres but the city administrator said after this 90-day moratorium they'll likely have a better understanding of what the city wants to do.
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