Demand for recreational Marijuana exceeds expectations in Missouri
COLUMBIA - Over a month has passed since dispensaries have been selling recreational marijuana in Missouri, and the demand is higher than anticipated.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, marijuana sales in the month of February totaled $102.9 million, with $71.7 million of that total coming from recreational sales.
However, because the demand is exceeding expectations, "Missouri is the only market in the top 20 by size that is facing a shortage instead of surplus," according to LeafLink. LeafLink is a cannabis wholesale platform that connects retailers with distributors.
Tim Gilio is the founder of the Missouri Marijuana Legalization Movement, and he said he's seen a noticeable effect on dispensaries.
"I have seen supplies go down completely where dispensaries have run completely out of flower," Gilio said.
With less supply, lines are longer and shelves are missing products.
"This is hitting the [medical marijuana] patients," Gilio said. "Now the recreational users are taking up what the patients would have used."
Jason Corrado, the owner of 3Fifteen Primo Cannabis in Columbia, said he's seen dispensaries who were not prepared for Amendment 3 to pass have serious struggles with supply.
"There are a lot of empty shelves out there," Corrado said. "There are a lot of folks that didn't plan adequately."
3Fifteen primo has several stores throughout the state. Corrado said his chain has built a lot of corporate connections that has helped keep supply steady, but he said he's seen some small single-store businesses struggle to meet the high demand. Corrado said reaching out to different suppliers is the best way stores can meet demand.
However, the problem is that there is a limited number of marijuana cultivators in the state, because DHSS capped the number of cultivator licenses at 60.
"The demand is a lot higher I think that even they have foreseen, or they would have grown a lot more product in this past year," Gilio said. "The way to alleviate that is to allow more people to grow."
Corrado said most suppliers were ready for the increase, but not all of them.
"I heard from more than one supplier that they were getting huge orders from people that they've never gotten orders from before," Corrado said. "They had to say, well, we'll give you part of this."
To stay on top of supply, Corrado said he keeps in touch with many suppliers and prioritizes medical patients by putting them in their own line.