Larry Simpson on Saturday morning became the first patient to purchase medical marijuana in the state of Missouri.
“When I came home from the hospital initially after surgery, I had a whole list of things you don’t want to take,” he told KMOV-TV. “Morphine, OxyContin, this, that … I took none of that. I would have never thought I would ever have any value for marijuana, but it has changed my life.”
Simpson made his purchase at N’Bliss in Manchester, which is in St. Louis Country .
N’Bliss is the first dispensary to open in Missouri, with several more around the state expected to follow in the coming days and weeks. The store opened earlier this year to sell CBD products. Now, those with a medical marijuana card can enter the dispensary.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has licensed a total of 192 retail dispensaries, 24 in each of the state’s eight congressional districts. Additionally, 60 cultivation sites have been approved to grow medical marijuana. Across Missouri, more than 65,000 people have medical marijuana cards, with another 12,000 currently awaiting approval. In 2018, Missouri voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution allowing the sale of medical marijuana. The industry’s anticipated economic impact in Missouri is estimated at $800 million in direct spending by 2021.
“Missouri patients have always been our north star as we work to implement the state’s medical marijuana program,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “We greatly appreciate how hard everyone has worked so that patients can begin accessing a safe and well-regulated program.”
Missouri has had one of the fastest implementations of a marijuana program in the United States.
“A tremendous amount of work has occurred by the licensed facilities and our team to get us to this point, and we continue to hear from more facilities that they are ready or almost ready for their commencement inspection,” said Lyndall Fraker, director of the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation. “We look forward to seeing these facilities open their doors to serve patients and caregivers.”
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice