Health Dept.: Recreational marijuana on sale in Missouri Friday

Nearly all of the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries applied for the comprehensive license that would allow for recreational and medicinal sales.

ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said the emergency rules legalizing recreational marijuana sales will go into effect Friday.

DHSS Communications Director Lisa Cox said the department’s Division of Cannabis Regulation will begin approving conversion requests on Friday from medical dispensaries that requested the ability to sell adult-use marijuana.

Cox said nearly all of the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries applied for the comprehensive license that would allow for recreational and medicinal sales. She said 90% of those dispensaries applied on Dec.8, the first day applications were accepted.

The constitutional amendment passed in November said the state had 60 days from the time they applied to either approve or deny the request. That deadline would have fallen on Feb. 6, but Cox said the state will begin ruling on requests on Friday to ensure the process is working correctly.

“Each licensee is responsible for knowing and understanding the rules that apply to their facility,” Cox said in the statement. “After conversion, sales to adult-use consumers (age 21 and up) may begin as soon as comprehensive dispensary facilities are ready to commence operating under their new authority.”

But there are some cities that are still working to change ordinances that technically only allow for the sale of medical marijuana.

This could impact some dispensaries, but most experts say it’s kind of a gray area and legally the constitution is the deciding factor allowing them to sell as soon as they have a comprehensive license.

For weeks, Star Buds Dispensary Owner Chris Chesley has been preparing to open his doors to thousands more customers looking to buy recreational marijuana products.

“Talking with vendors, transporters, making sure everything’s going to be ready, running smoothly. Definitely staffing up. We’ve almost doubled our staff,” Chesley told 5 On Your Side earlier this week.

Chesley owns two dispensaries one in Festus and one in University City.

He said the transition to sell both recreational and medical products also involves working with cities to change ordinances. But Missouri NORML Attorney Dan Viets said legally cities can’t stop dispensaries from selling recreational pot on Feb. 6 as long as they have a state comprehensive license.

“Article 14 specifically says that no local government can enact any ordinance which would place an undue burden on the operation of those facilities. And attempting to stop them from operating would certainly be an undue burden,” Viets said.

Some dispensaries may choose to not immediately begin selling recreational products on Feb. 6 or may not have the state license just yet so really, it’s best to check with the store directly before showing up.

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