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KBIA’s Health & Wealth Desk covers the economy and health of rural and underserved communities in Missouri and beyond. The team produces a weekly radio segment, as well as in-depth features and regular blog posts. The reporting desk is funded by a grant from the University of Missouri, and the Missouri Foundation for Health.Contact the Health & Wealth desk.

Here’s what to expect from Missouri’s new recreational cannabis program

Luke Runyon
Harvest Public Media

The first recreational marijuana sales took place in Missouri about two months ago, after voters legalized adult use cannabis last November.

Amy Moore is the director of the Division of Cannabis Regulation at Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services. She started this new job last month, but has been working in medical cannabis regulation at the department since 2018. She sat down with KBIA's Anna Spidel to discuss cannabis regulation and what Missourians should expect from the program moving forward.

"I know not everybody voted for this. We're very aware of that. And we try to keep that in mind. We serve all Missourians."
Amy Moore

Spidel: Now that recreational cannabis is legal in Missouri, what kind of changes should Missourians expect to see to the state's Medical program?

Moore: The medical side of the program due to changes in law has shifted a little bit. For instance, there is a different purchase and possession limit for patients. We now accept certification of patients from nurse practitioners.

Spidel: How will the recreational program impact the way that medical marijuana users are able to access cannabis in Missouri?

Moore: Well, we hope it won't really impact the medical patients on an individual level. The products will all be the same. The big difference between the two sides of the program for the purchaser is that the medical patient has a lower tax rate. But there was some emphasis in the law on ensuring that our facilities are still focused on patients, making sure that the adult use side doesn't affect their ability to get what they need.

Spidel: What can Missourians do to educate themselves on cannabis?

Moore: Well, we have a great website for one. But then I think really, if they're interested in educating themselves about cannabis and whether it is right for them, how it might affect them, what their options are, I think going to one of our dispensaries is a great way to learn. In our rules, they do require that they provide certain educational materials, including information about potential risks, but also usage methods and the products that they actually have. And when you go to a dispensary, you're not required to purchase anything. So you have the option to go and talk and learn and just see what's interesting or not for you individually.

Spidel: Why should Missourians get their cannabis from a state regulated dispensary?

Moore: The main thing is the health and safety considerations that are built into our law and our regulation. All of our product is tested prior to sale for a whole host of contaminants. It's also tested for the cannabinoid profile. So you can really feel assured that as much as we're able to with the science we have right now, that we are checking, doing everything we can to make sure that what they're getting is one, safe, and two, tells them what's in it.

Spidel: Is there anything that we didn't discuss today that you think Missourians should know about cannabis?

Moore: Our program is a new program. But it is very well designed to ensure safe access to product, and we're coming at it now with a total body of knowledge from the other states. And so, I know not everybody voted for this. We're very aware of that. And we try to keep that in mind. We serve all Missourians. So I think I would just want people to know that we are doing our best to learn from other states, to learn the lessons that they had to struggle through just from having gone first. And I think we have a really great program for that reason.

Anna Spidel is a health reporter for the KBIA Health & Wealth desk. A proud Michigander, Anna hails from Dexter, Michigan and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Michigan State University in 2022. Previously, she worked with member station Michigan Radio as an assistant producer on Stateside.