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'Christmas came a little early': Missouri approves more than 200 dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana

On a typical day, Feel State in Florissant sees 150 patients. But now, they are projecting 400 to 500 customers a day from here on out.

ST. LOUIS — In the last 24 hours, it's been a hustle for marijuana dispensary owners gearing up to sell recreational marijuana.

Friday morning, Star Buds owner Chris Chesley said he kept refreshing his inbox to see if they got approval from the state to officially sell. 

"This morning, it was watching our email clicking refresh," Chesley said.

He admits many were thinking, the license to sell would kick in on Monday, Feb. 6.

But news broke out on Thursday from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that the day would be a few days earlier on Friday., Feb. 3.

"It was race if our system was ready," he said.

Around 6:50 a.m. a notification hit their mailbox, giving them the green light. At 7:08 a.m., Star Buds in Festus got its first customer.

"It's been busy. Our phones have been ringing off the hook consistently," he admitted. 

He says many were asking one big question. 

"They just want to know if we are recreational or not," Chesley shared.

And the answer is yes for almost all dispensaries.

A spokesperson for the state's health department says, almost all of the dispensaries across the state applied to have a comprehensive license, which is adult-use and medical marijuana.

So, this means there are some dispensaries that are not selling recreational marijuana.

Voters approved Amendment 3 back in November, making Missouri the 21st state to legalize recreational cannabis.

This now means anyone over 21 can buy. 

There are still some regulations:

  • You can purchase up to three ounces
  • While weed is legal in Missouri and Illinois, it's still a federal crime to transport it

Feel State co-owner Tyler Hannegan is excited about the headstart in sales. 

"The prayers were answered, Christmas came a little early," he said. 

Many owners have admitted, they've been making adjustments. 

Star Buds doubled its staff and Feel State Florissant Dispensary added 10 more employees. 

"We are one of the few dispensaries that does deli style, so we make sure that the state re-calibrated all of our scales for it to be perfect," Chesley said. 

Feel State in north St. Louis County has even been making modifications to its production in Cuba, Missouri. 

"We have worked on quadrupling production down there to meet demands here. We have actually doubled and tripled inventory," Hannegan added. 

On a typical day, Hannegan said the stores see 150 patients. But now, they are projecting 400 to 500 customers a day from here on out.

He shared, "I'd say from an annual perspective, we'll probably have triple of where we at in sales, probably getting to the $7 million to $10 million mark."

On Friday, Drew Lammert with Kind Goods Dispensary said the lines were out the door. He owns three locations in Fenton, Manchester and St. Peters.

"We will easily make 3x or 4x our normal revenue today," Lammert said on Friday.

As for overall profit, officials say this will generate an estimated $41 million per year for the state.

Right now, there is a 6% tax on the retail sale of marijuana for recreational use. However, some municipalities are proposing an additional 3% tax. 

St. Louis County council members have already voted to put a 3% tax on April's ballot for a vote. 

While the future is still unknown, Chesley feels confident, as he's already seen changes on day one.

"I would say 80% of our customers today are new to dispensaries," he observed.

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