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marijuana cannabis jobs in missouri

Nearly 10% of new Missouri jobs created by medical marijuana industry

By Raymore Journal staff

Petitions to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Missouri are making the rounds. That can potentially mean good things for the state’s economy after a recent report reveals that the legalization of medical marijuana has created nearly one in 10 new Missouri jobs.

State government data shows 77,600 jobs were created from December 2020 to December 2021.

According to the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association (MoCannTrade), nearly 7,000 jobs were created in Missouri’s first full year of medical marijuana operations in 2021, accounting for nearly 10% of the news jobs in Missouri.

Raymore has been a recipient of some of those jobs. Located in the building that used to be a Steak ‘n Shake off 58 Highway, medical marijuana dispensary The Source began operations in Raymore in December. That has created about 15 jobs in the city.

In addition to creating jobs in Raymore, medical marijuana has added some residents as well. At least one person moved to Raymore from out of state because of a job opportunity at The Source. Considering The Source is based in Arkansas, that suggests both businesses and people see a bright future in Raymore.

Missouri has been reaping the benefits of medical marijuana. According to Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), cumulative medical marijuana sales since October 2020 reached more than $240 million in January. Sales of medical marijuana began on Oct. 16, 2020. Missouri applies a 4% tax on retail sales of medical marijuana. That tax revenue is deposited into Missouri’s Veteran Health and Care Fund.

“Missouri’s medical cannabis industry is delivering on its promise of not only providing safe, affordable and convenient access for patients but also helping to infuse the state’s economy with sizable investment and millions in new tax revenue,” Andrew Mullins, executive director of MoCannTrade, said in a statement.

There are about 160,000 qualified medical marijuana patients in Missouri. According to DHSS’ latest data, there are more than 3,000 medical marijuana patients in Cass County. That is among the most outside of Jackson and St. Louis counties, which is to be expected in counties within major metropolitan areas.

The Source is just one of 186 dispensaries approved throughout the state. There are also 64 infused product manufacturers, 46 marijuana cultivation facilities, 21 marijuana transportation operations and eight testing laboratories. All of those bring in their own unique jobs to towns throughout Missouri.

Even smaller towns are benefiting from medical marijuana sales. Flora Farms is based in Humansville, Mo., which has a population of just more than 1,000 people. That is about the same number of applicants wanting to work for Flora Farms, according to MoCannTrade.

Although Missouri has a cap on dispensaries allowed to operate, the number of dispensaries is one of the highest among states with medical marijuana. Only three states allow an unlimited number of dispensaries: Michigan, New Mexico and Oklahoma. All other states have a cap. Missouri’s cap of nearly 200 dispensaries is the highest among those states.

Petitions to legalize recreational use of marijuana

Missouri can receive even more jobs and tax revenue if one of three initiative petitions make it to the November ballot and receive a majority vote.

Legal Missouri’s initiative will do the following:

  • Legalize adult-use marijuana (21 and older).
  • Allow Missourians with nonviolent marijuana-related offenses to automatically expunge their criminal records.
  • Levy 6% state tax on retail sales of marijuana. Covers administrative expenses and costs to process automatic expungements. Remaining surplus will be split equally between veterans’ healthcare, drug addiction treatment, and Missouri’s underfunded public defender system.
  • Allow local governments to assess local sales taxes of up to 3%.
  • New business licenses: Seeks to broaden industry participation by small business owners and among disadvantaged populations, including those with limited capital, residents of high-poverty communities, service-disabled veterans, and those previously convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses.
  • Lottery: All new license holders will be selected at random, by lottery.
  • Extend amount of time that medical marijuana patient and caregiver ID cards are valid from one to three years while keeping that cost low ($25). The current $100 fee for Missourians who choose to grow medical marijuana at home will be reduced by half, with the expiration period also extended from one to three years.
  • Allow local communities to opt-out of adult-use retail marijuana sales through a vote of the people.

Fair Access Missouri’s initiative includes:

  • Expungement of past marijuana convictions. Incarcerated individuals may file for release from custody.
  • Cannabis may be distributed free of charge to qualified patients or caregivers through the Compassionate Care Program.
  • Missouri’s Division of Alcohol & Tobacco will administer the adult-use cannabis program.
  • 5% tax; no wholesale tax will be collected.
  • The smell of cannabis no longer a probable cause to detain or search a person, impound or search a vehicle, enter a residence, or other property of a consumer.
  • Any Missouri law that criminalizes the possession, delivery, or distribution of cannabis in an amount less than two times the legal limit is declared null and void.
  • Unlimited facility licenses and reduced license fee.
  • DHSS limited to retaining only 20% of net revenues for operation. Department revenues will no longer be reduced or diverted away from the Missouri Veterans’ Health and Care Fund for legal issues.

Measures within Cannabis Patient Network’s initiative include:

  • Repeal all current medical marijuana provisions.
  • Remove state prohibitions on marijuana for personal or medical use, regardless of age.
  • Legally allow driving while under the influence of marijuana.
  • Those incarcerated for non-violent, marijuana-only offenses to be released immediately.
  • All past non-criminal, marijuana-only criminal and civil records to be destroyed and expunged.
  • Prohibit the taxation of physician-recommended medical marijuana.

The Raymore Journal will do a deeper dive into any initiative that garners enough signatures to make the November ballot.