Missouri's recreational cannabis industry balloons to $1.5 billion in less than a year: A look at the boom
Wednesday, November 8 marked a year since Missourians voted to legalize recreational marijuana and took a historic step towards embracing adult-use recreational cannabis.
It also marks nine months since the opening weekend of those sales, turning a million-dollar industry into a billion-dollar one in the Show-Me state.
Katie West is the Missouri Health and Wellness Dispensary manager in Jefferson City. Nine months after the opening weekend of adult-use cannabis sales, she says the business has expanded to reach more people than ever.
"It's been extremely busy. There's people flowing in and out. We see new people every day," she said. "There's opportunities for anybody over 21 years of age to come and be a part of this, which has been incredible. There's been so many people that are so thankful to have this opportunity and we're thankful to be able to provide this opportunity."
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, cumulative medical and adult use sales have doubled in less than a year, going from $605 million in December 2022 to more than $1.5 billion in September 2023. Adult use sales have increased monthly by over $25 million since February. Two inmates died at two mid-Missouri facilities, said Department of Corrections "We were a part of MO CanniFest at the Lake of the Ozarks," West said. "And we were a vendor there and we got to meet hundreds and hundreds of people that their lives have been changed from cannabis, and a lot of us especially as employees can relate to that very much. So being able to be out there and meet those people, talk to those people about what they're excited about, what they want to see, more of what they need from us, sales-wise, product-wise."
The number of employees in the cannabis industry has also skyrocketed, going from just above 9,800 in October 2022 to more than 18,000 Missourians employed in September. West hopes this trend will continue through the holidays and into 2024. Nearly 100,000 marijuana convictions have been expunged from government records. Under the law, almost every misdemeanor marijuana conviction was supposed to be expunged in June, with the exception of offenders who are still incarcerated or currently supervised by the Department of Corrections.