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No. 5: Voters give green light to recreational marijuana

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Four years after Missouri voters passed medical weed at the polls, the marijuana industry is growing again with the Nov. 8 approval of Amendment 3, which legalized its recreational use statewide.

The new amendment changed the state constitution, legalizing the purchase, possession, consumption, delivery, sale and manufacturing of marijuana for adults 21 and older for personal use. State officials say the earliest that Missourians will be able to buy marijuana products recreationally is Feb. 6, 2023.

State officials estimate the retail sales tax for recreational weed products will generate annual revenue of at least $40.8 million, and an optional local sales tax could bring in at least $13.8 million for municipalities across the state.

Local companies in the industry project the state’s marijuana market will record sales of at least double, if not triple, current totals. Medical marijuana cumulative sales hit $565 million in November – a mark reached in just over two years, according to Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services data.

DHSS, which has overseen the medical marijuana program since 2018, plans to bolster its nearly 60-employee workforce with up to 100 more people to handle the expected increased workload, according to officials. The state agency formerly operated the program under the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation but has changed the name to the Division of Cannabis Regulation. Lyndall Fraker, who has served as the medical marijuana division leader the past four years, chose to not pursue the new director role but is staying on as the agency’s director of public outreach. Officials say a new director is still being sought.

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