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medical cannabis

  • Andrew Mullins posted an article
    Missouri Medical Cannabis Sales Continue Skyward With New Record Setting July $21M+ see more

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Aug. 9, 2021
     
    Missouri medical cannabis sales set new record  
     
    Monthly sales top $20 million for the first time
     
    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. _ For the first time in Missouri, medical cannabis sales topped $20 million in July. The $21.03 million in sales last month brought the total amount purchased by medical cannabis patients in Missouri to $91.36 million.

    July also brought a rash of new marijuana facility openings. Currently the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has approved the opening of 135 dispensaries, 36 infused product manufacturers, and 26 marijuana cultivation facilities, with more coming online each week.

    As a result, recent news reports indicate that prices for Missouri patients are declining, while product selection and availability increase.
     
    The state Department of Health and Senior Services has licensed a total of 375 facilities to cultivate, manufacture, test, transport and dispense medical marijuana to Missouri patients.
     
    “Missouri is one of the only medical cannabis states where patients don’t have to drive long distances to access medicine,” said Andrew Mullins, executive director of MoCannTrade (The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association). “As a result of this tremendous patient access, our industry is seeing record sales, a diverse line of products, and Missouri marijuana companies are creating jobs and investing in their local communities.
     
    Last month Missouri also continues to see a record amount of medical marijuana patients, with more than 130,000 Missouri patients now having their DHSS issued patient card.  
     
    Under Article IX of the state Constitution, Missouri residents with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma and 20 other qualifying conditions can purchase or cultivate medical cannabis with a physician’s certification. The law also provides physicians with the discretion to certify patients who have other chronic and debilitating medical conditions that could benefit from medical marijuana, and legally protects their right to have such conversations.
     
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    MoCannTrade (The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association) is an association of business owners, health care providers, professionals, patients and residents responsible for helping to implement a successful, safe, compliant medical marijuana program in Missouri.
     
    The membership-based association is directed by a board of diverse professionals experienced in medical marijuana, healthcare, law, pharmaceutical, science, agriculture, law enforcement, security, commercial real estate, finance, public affairs and regulatory sectors.
     
    To learn more about MoCannTrade please visit www.mocanntrade.org

  • Andrew Mullins posted an article
    Missouri Medical Cannabis Program Continues To Exceed Expectations topping 100K patients see more

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.: Missouri’s medical cannabis program has passed a notable milestone, with more than 100,000 active patients and caregivers approved to use and purchase medical cannabis.

     

    State officials confirmed the six-figure count on Tuesday after a weekly update by the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) released one day earlier showed a running total just a few dozen shy of that mark.

     

    The Missouri program’s continued growth comes just 22 months since enrollment began — and years ahead of initial estimates.

     

    The enrollment boost comes as a similar surge of retail outlets across the state open their doors, and more producers receive state operating approval. To date, 141 medical cannabis businesses fall into that category, including 92 dispensaries serving patients and caregivers.

     

    With Missouri planning to authorize a total of 192 dispensaries statewide, medical cannabis patients here will have greater access than in each of the other 19 states with similar programs, behind only Oklahoma.

     

    By comparison, the state of Illinois —which with 12.67 million residents has a population more than double that of Missouri — has only 55 licensed, operating dispensaries. That’s less than one-third of Missouri’s eventual total for a program that began several years earlier.

     

    “This patient enrollment milestone is testament to the strong public support —and pent-up demand — for safe, laboratory-tested medical cannabis in Missouri,” said Andrew Mullins, executive director of MoCannTrade (The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association). “And as more businesses come online seemingly every day now, we only expect that patient count to grow even more in the weeks and months ahead.”

     

    Statewide sales continue an upward trajectory, with a record $3.3 million in sales

    over the most recent seven-day period and a cumulative total of $38.45 million over the past four months. The record-setting week (which included the unofficial cannabis holiday of 4/20) marked a 21 percent boost from the previous week’s sales.

     

    Missouri regulators have also issued nearly 3,000 agent identification cards to medical cannabis industry employees, fueling economic investment in the state by an industry that’s expected to generate nearly twice that many jobs, more than $800 million in direct spending and another $570 million in indirect spending.

     

    Under Article IX of the state Constitution, Missouri residents with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma and 20 other qualifying conditions can purchase or cultivate medical cannabis with a physician’s certification. The law also provides physicians with the discretion to certify patients who have other chronic and debilitating medical conditions that could benefit from medical marijuana, and legally protects their right to have such conversations.

     

    Medical cannabis sales in Missouri include an additional 4 percent sales tax dedicated to health

    and care of military veterans.

     

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    MoCannTrade (The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association) is an association of business owners, health care providers, professionals, patients and residents responsible for helping to implement a successful, safe, compliant medical marijuana program in Missouri.

     

    The membership-based association is directed by a board of diverse professionals experienced in medical marijuana, healthcare, law, pharmaceutical, science, agriculture, law enforcement, security, commercial real estate, finance, public affairs and regulatory sectors.

     

    To learn more about MoCannTrade please visit www.mocanntrade.org

  • Andrew Mullins posted an article
    Store openings, sales and patient enrollment accelerate heading into spring see more

    Store openings, sales and patient enrollment accelerate heading into spring

     

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Just shy of the industry’s six-month mark for operations, 120 medical cannabis businesses are now approved to do business in Missouri, where patient enrollment approaches six figures and cumulative sales are just shy of $30 million.

    Eighty (80) of the facilities to receive state operating approval to date are retail dispensaries, as new locations open across Missouri on a near-daily basis. The state Department of Health and Senior Services has licensed a total of 347 facilities to cultivate, manufacture, test and dispense medical marijuana to Missouri patients.

    Weekly medical marijuana sales in Missouri have averaged more than $2.5 million over the past month, with DHSS reporting cumulative medical cannabis sales of nearly $30 million statewide through Friday, April 9.  

    As of Monday, more than 95,000 patients and caregivers have received their state-approved medical cannabis cards, with thousands more applications pending.

    “We’ve been crisscrossing the state for weeks now as new businesses continue to come online,” said Andrew Mullins, executive director of MoCannTrade (The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association). “Our growing industry is not only improving the health and well-being of Missouri patients but also creating thousands of new jobs while funneling millions in new and needed tax revenue to the state.”

    Medical cannabis sales in Missouri include an additional 4 percent sales tax dedicated to health

    and care of military veterans.

    To highlight the breadth of knowledge, experience and passion seen throughout Missouri’s newest high-impact industry, MoCannTrade offers these brief member spotlights:

     

    fresh.green dispensaries

    Locations: Kansas City, Lee's Summit

    Owners: Bianca and Rob Sullivan

    Attorneys Bianca and Rob Sullivan had a successful law practice in Kansas City for more than a decade before the couple ventured into the medical cannabis industry.

    With the October 2020 debut of its Lee’s Summit location, fresh.green was the first dispensary to open in the Kansas City area, and the second statewide. Its second store in Kansas City’s Waldo neighborhood opened in March.

    The locations are intentional for the Sullivans – Bianca grew up in Waldo, and the couple raised their children in Lee’s Summit.

    As part of its corporate philosophy, fresh.green provides a dedicated percentage of its profits in the form of discounted or free medicine for patients in need, including veterans — an amount Rob Sullivan said topped over $150,000 in the last two months of 2020 alone.

     

    Missouri Wild Alchemy

    Locations: O’Fallon (two dispensaries)

    Owners: Jason and Nicole Crady, Scott Hitchcock

    As a career firefighter and paramedic, Jason Crady has seen the opioid epidemic’s damage firsthand. As a pharmacist, his wife and business partner Nicole is keenly attuned to the importance of patient education both in the field and at their two Missouri Wild Alchemy dispensaries in St. Charles County. Their third partner, civil engineer Scott Hitchcock, tapped his skills to help design the two retail outlets.

    As lifelong Missourians with deep community connections, the Missouri Wild Alchemy team takes pride in their patient- and community-first approach.

     

    Flora Farms

    Locations: Humansville (cultivation and dispensary), Neosho and Springfield (dispensaries)

    Owners: BD Health, ERBA Holdings; Mark Hendren, president

    With a 120,000-square-foot indoor growing facility and three dispensaries across southwest Missouri, Flora Farms fixes its focus squarely outside the state’s two big cities – and two most congested markets.

    The Springfield/Joplin ownership group includes doctors, lawyers, CPAs and business owners from the four-state region (state law requires Missouri ownership of at least 50 percent; President Mark Hendren says Missourians account for 80 percent of ownership).

    Flora Farms won state approval to begin operations at its cultivation facility in October 2020, with its three dispensaries opening between December 2020 and February of this year.

    Hendren said the company plans to increase its growing capacity by 50 percent before year’s end, producing more than 3,000 pounds of cannabis per month and making it one of the largest indoor cultivators in the state.

     

    The Valley

    Location: Farmington

    Owners: Dan and Alex Freund   

    After nearly a quarter-century as a small-town pharmacist, Dan Freund joined his son Alex, a recent college graduate, to own Farmington’s only medical cannabis dispensary – in the same building Medicap Pharmacy previously called home.

    Freund says he pivoted to help “veterans with PTSD, patients undergoing chemotherapy, people with psychiatric problems and to add to the quality of people’s lives in southeastern Missouri.”

    The Valley opened February 1.

     

    COCO

    Locations: Chillicothe, Hannibal and Moberly (dispensaries), COCO Labs, Clarence (infused products manufacturing)

    Owners: Ethan, Clay and Brooke Foster; Skyler, Mark and Amy Thomas

    Many businesses strive to create a family atmosphere at work, cannabis included. At COCO and COCO Labs, it really is (almost) all in the family.

    With a University of Missouri plant science degree and medical cannabis cultivation experience in New Mexico, COCO owner Ethan Foster enlisted his parents as partners in the northern Missouri company, joined by a second family. The Foster clan also own C&R Supermarkets, an 11-store grocery chain in business since 1957.

    With deep family roots in northern Missouri, COCO is proud of the “small-town hospitality” at its three retail locations, said chief operating officer Brooke Foster, who is also Ethan’s Mom. Co-founder Skyler Thomas is Ethan Foster’s cousin (their mothers are sisters).

    “We felt strongly that Missouri patients in this part of the state needed easy access to their medicine,” she said.

     

    Nirvana Investments LLC

    Locations: N’Bliss dispensaries (Ellisville, Festus, House Springs and Manchester); 5150 N’fusion manufacturing/infused products (Festus); Bold Lane Logistics transportation (Festus)

    Owner: Brad Goette, CEO/managing partner, Nirvana Investments

    N’Bliss is rightfully proud of its status as the first legal cannabis dispensary to commence operations in Missouri, as well as the site of the state’s first legal medical cannabis patient purchase in October 2020. But that was only the beginning for CEO Brad Goette and his team.

    Its two Jefferson County dispensaries will soon open in the coming weeks, while its manufacturing and infused products facility, also in JeffCo, is expected to receive state operating approval in May. That paves the way for Nirvana’s full line of edibles, concentrates, vape cartridges and more.

    May is also when the LLC’s transportation licensee opens its doors.

    N’Bliss dispensaries are also open to the public for CBD sales, a market differentiation company leaders say makes for a more welcoming environment to help educate and engage with prospective patients.

     

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    MoCannTrade (The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association) is an association of business owners, health care providers, professionals, patients and residents responsible for helping to implement a successful, safe, compliant medical marijuana program in Missouri.

    The membership-based association is directed by a board of diverse professionals experienced in medical marijuana, healthcare, law, pharmaceutical, science, agriculture, law enforcement, security, commercial real estate, finance, public affairs and regulatory sectors.

    To learn more about MoCannTrade please visit www.mocanntrade.org

  • D. Advocate & Associates posted an article
    Compromise backed by MoCannTrade protects consumers and children, safeguards industry. see more

    Compromise backed by MoCannTrade protects consumers and children, safeguards industry

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. _ A new state law took effect Friday August 28th ensures that edible, marijuana-infused products sold to Missouri medical cannabis patients won’t be in the shape of animals, fruit or cartoon characters, which could appeal to minors.

    While the measure prohibits the sale of marijuana edibles in those shapes, it specifically allows edibles in geometric shapes, including circles, squares and rectangles. Additionally, edibles packaged in Missouri must be stamped with a diamond containing the letters ‘THC’ (signifying the drug’s primary psychoactive ingredient), the  letter ‘M’ to indicate it’s a medicinal product, and the number of milligrams of THC contained in the product. The mark must be prominently placed on the front of the package. 

    Some state lawmakers initially sought a more extensive ban on edible forms of marijuana — an excessive restriction that would have prevented patient access by those for whom this is a safer, more desirable consumption method than smoking. The compromise language was among a series of legislative revisions successfully sought by MoCannTrade (Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association) and endorsed by legislators.

    “More and more doctors are recommending that patients using medical marijuana consider trying edibles or other smokeless forms of the medicine, which is why we fought so hard against legislation that would have largely banned this choice,” said Andrew Mullins, MoCannTrade executive director. “This new law taking effect is an important compromise that provides patient access to medical marijuana edibles, gives the cannabis industry certainty of what products they can offer, while helping keep this medicine out of the hands of minors. Our membership-based trade association is thankful for the work of lawmakers to ensure that the necessary safeguards are in place to protect public safety while also fulfilling the will of the nearly two-thirds of Missouri voters who endorsed this state constitutional amendment.”

     The proposed ban on edibles is one of several unsuccessful recent attempts by Missouri lawmakers to restrict the nascent industry as more than 60,000 patients await the start of retail sales this fall.

    Those efforts, each of which were successfully opposed by MoCannTrade, include a measure that would have prevented state-certified physicians from certifying marijuana patients using telemedicine services. Instead, lawmakers added a clause to the state’s telehealth statute that specifically authorizes physician certifications of medical cannabis, enabling doctors to virtually interview patients, collect or review medical history and perform examinations. 

    Another ill-advised legislative proposal would have allowed employers to fire medical marijuana patients solely for having state certification, or for failing a drug test – even if the patient wasn’t impaired at work. 

    The new state law that takes effect Friday also prohibits any state agency or employee from disclosing the names of Missouri medical marijuana patients to the federal government or any unauthorized third party

     September 11, 2020
  • Article
    If you prefer a dowloadable version of this document, please click below. see more

    CASHLESS ATMS BECOMING AN ATTRACTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO CASH FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS BUSINESSES: 

    By Jim Regna - CEO Triad Bank

    They say cash is king. But when it comes to Missouri’s soon-to-open marijuana businesses, cash can also be a giant headache. The federal laws that push many marijuana-related businesses into cash transactions have never been ideal. But now, with the emergence of COVID-19, there is renewed urgency from both customers and businesses to look for alternatives to cash payments.

    One alternative found in other states (including neighboring Illinois) is the use of cashless ATMs, which allow customers to purchase medical marijuana at dispensaries using a debit card, with the purchases rounded up to the nearest $5 or $10 denomination. For example, if a dispensary purchase totaled $87, the customer’s debit card would be charged $90, with the customer receiving $3 in change. This system, while not as ideal as simply accepting credit cards, is far better than customers having to pay cash, a practice that is now not only a public health danger but which remains a security risk for businesses that must face the added concerns that accompany keeping large amounts of cash on hand. “Taking the cash out of cannabis is both safer and more profitable. Offering cashless ATM boosts average transaction sizes by 25% among our cannabis business customers,” said Brian Bauer, chief strategy officer at Abaca, a company that offers safe, compliant financial services to the cannabis industry. Abaca operates in seven states and has helped marijuana licensees bank over $100 million in cannabis deposits.

    Financial institutions are subject to various federal Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering requirements, and the use of cashless ATMs provide some unique challenges. Before working with dispensaries that provide cashless ATM solutions to their customers, financial institutions should work with marijuana-related customers and vendors to determine how the financial institution can adhere to these requirements. Key in this determination is open communication between the bank, its dispensary customer and the cashless ATM vendor. Banks need to understand and vet the cashless ATM provider’s services and technology. Some cashless solutions have run into problems in other states and have been forced to shut down, primarily because they run afoul of the Visa, MasterCard, and other card processors’ terms of service. It is important for a dispensary to partner with a vendor offering a solution that does not touch the card processors’ systems.

    Before doing business with a dispensary utilizing a cashless ATM, the bank needs to perform a due diligence review of the cashless ATM provider, and dispensaries should be prepared to help facilitate the bank’s review. For example, ATM provider Activate Payments, which successfully processes over $2 billion annually for 15,000 merchants and has been in business since 2007, is beginning to partner with dispensaries in Missouri. Despite this vendor’s long track record, a financial institution still has to roll up its sleeves and take a good long look under the hood. “We are excited to share our deep expertise in merchant processing by partnering with dispensaries and we have proactively worked with financial institutions in Missouri to provide transparency in how transactions are processed and promote our compliant cashless ATM solution,” said Scott Kabel, Activate Payments President. “Our solution is the industry standard and the adoption of the cashless ATM has accelerated with the recent COVID related operational changes in dispensary transactions.” Even when a vendor like Activate Payments passes this upfront customer due diligence, it doesn’t mean a financial institution’s work is done. The financial institution will need to do ongoing customer due diligence checks, and most importantly monitor transactions for suspicious activity, just as it would for cash transactions.

    Dispensaries utilizing cashless ATMs will need to provide accurate records of transactions to their banking partners and be able to reconcile cashless ATM transactions with seed-to-sale records. To avoid potential money laundering issues, the bank and its marijuana related business customer should agree on a “cash back” limitation when sales are made using the cashless ATM solution. The limitation should be large enough to allow dispensary customers to receive change in cash for their purchase, but not large enough to encourage significant cash back transactions like customers may be used to when using a debit card in a traditional retail setting. Limiting the amount of cash back will make recordkeeping practices much easier for both dispensaries and their banks.

    Will we ever take cash completely out of the cannabis business? Probably not, and that’s OK. But there are solutions such as cashless ATMs that provide cannabis businesses and customers a safe, compliant alternative. But for these to work, cannabis businesses must work closely with their bank, vendors and regulators to establish, implement and review these compliance measures to combat these unique challenges faced by the industry.

     

    Jim Regna is CEO and Founder of Triad Bank, headquartered in St. Louis, as well as a MoCannTrade board member.

  • Andrew Mullins posted an article
    Missouri Department of Revenue has confirmed MO MMJ facilities may qualify for exemptions see more

    A question or potential concern was communicated by a MoCannTrade member and licensee about whether or not medical marijuana facilities could qualify for the manufacturer’s sales and use tax exemptions. To ensure clarity on behalf of that member and the industry as a whole, MoCannTrade met with Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) leadership. MoCannTrade wanted to get clarification on this important tax benefit, because for some facilities this opportunity could realize a one-time or even annualized savings of five to six figures+. 

    Listed below is DOR's response, along with supporting documentation and forms to help facilitate this process for MMJ cultivation or manufacturing facilities in MO. Via DOR Senior Counsel Thom Houdek“There is no prohibition to a marijuana facility to qualify as a manufacturer due to their specific industry or category of product produced. Medical cannabis manufacturing facilities will have to follow the same procedures as any other business claiming a manufacturing exemption and it will be determined on a case by case basis, as it would be for any other business.”

    For our members' purposes, we have highlighted the FAQ directly from the DOR website on this specific matter, along with some important links to the relevant state laws and rules to provide additional guidance and clarity on the process and requirements to qualify. Keep in mind, it is the facility or taxpayer's responsibility to ensure qualification for these benefits and exemptions with DOR making the final determinations.

     

    Does Missouri offer a sales tax exemption for manufacturers?

    Yes. Replacement machinery, equipment, and parts, and the materials and supplies solely required for the installation or construction of such replacement machinery, equipment, and parts, used directly in manufacturing, mining, fabricating or producing a product which is intended to be sold ultimately for final use or consumption are exempt.

    Materials and supplies are also exempt when they are required solely for the operation, installation or construction of the machinery and equipment purchased and used to establish a new, or to replace or expand existing, material recovery processing plants in the state of Missouri.

    Parts, and the materials and supplies are also exempt when they are solely required for the installation or construction of such machinery and equipment purchased and used to establish new or to expand existing manufacturing, mining or fabricating plants in the state of Missouri, if such machinery and equipment is used directly in manufacturing, mining or fabricating a product which is intended to be sold ultimately for final use or consumption.

    Section 144.054 RSMo, exempts purchases of machinery, equipment, materials and chemicals used or consumed in manufacturing, processing, compounding, mining, or producing any product or used in research and development related to manufacturing, processing, compounding, mining, or producing any product from state tax and local use tax, but not local sales tax.

    For additional MO exemptions info, please refer to Section 144.030 RSMo which also highlights exemptions for Electrical energy used in the actual primary manufacture, processing, compounding, mining or producing of a product, or electrical energy used in the actual secondary processing or fabricating of the product, or a material recovery processing plant as defined in subdivision (4) of this subsection, in facilities owned or leased by the taxpayer. Keeping in mind, it is the facility or taxpayers responsibility to ensure it qualifies for these benefits. 

     

    Additional rules and FAQ reference on manufacturer’s sales and use tax exemptions: 

     

    Missouri DOR also provided a direct contact number for their General Counsel's office should any facility or reseller have questions about the process or program elgibility: 573-751-0961