Two years after Missouri residents voted to legalize medical marijuana, there are only a few fully functional dispensaries in the state.
While several businesses have been granted licenses to start selling their product in St. Louis and in Kansas City, others locally remain in limbo. 20 After 4 in St. Joseph is one business waiting on an appeals process after being a denied a request for a license.
“We are still in appeal with about 900 applicants and some other locals in St. Joseph,” Andrew Hicks, owner of 20 After 4, said. “Just waiting on our court appearance at this point.”
20 After 4 originally helped patients apply for medical marijuana cards, then it transitioned into helping patients grow their own plants, as the shop is legally able to.
Now the final roadblock is being able to sell marijuana.
“Missouri made this process a huge mess. Two years into it and you are just getting dispensaries,” Hicks said. “Honestly, the best bet for your cannabis is to grow yourself. We are more than willing to help people with that, and St. Joe Hydro is more than willing to help as well.”
Growing cannabis is legal for those with medical licenses in the state.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is the department that makes the decision on who gets approved to sell and who does not. With hundreds of appeals to work through, there is no telling when a shop could be open here in St. Joseph.
Even when facilities are open, problems can occur. A couple of weeks ago the DHSS started an investigation into medical marijuana that was found to have mold.
“We encourage all patients to alert us to any concerns they have about any product they purchase. If there are concerns, we would advise that they do not consume any of the product until the situation can be properly investigated,” said Lyndall Fraker, director of the DHSS section for medical marijuana regulation.
With 20 After 4 waiting in limbo for a court case, the pandemic has not deterred sales, Hicks said.
“A lot more people are becoming public with smoking. That stigma is going away as long as you are in compliance with laws and rules in Missouri,” he said. “It is a different time in Missouri now.”