A handful of medical marijuana dispensaries, including Cassville Dispensary in Barry County and Flora Farms in Neosho, have opened in Southwest Missouri, but operators of Missouri Made Marijuana LLC hope it will be the first one to open in Joplin.
Dispensaries in Missouri are opening more two years after voters approved a constitutional amendment in November 2018 allowing for a program that is being overseen by the state Department of Health and Senior Services. The amendment passed with 65.5% of voter support.
Cassville Dispensary in Barry County was one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries to open in Southwest Missouri. It did so last fall. Other dispensaries are to open soon in Joplin, including Shango at 2401 E. 32nd St. and Greenlight Dispensary at 1729 E. Seventh St.
Missouri Made Marijuana LLC has set up shop in the former Payless Shoe Store at 1502 S. Range Line Road in Joplin.
Dispensary officials said they received the necessary licensing from the state this week, which means they can now train staff and order products. Christopher DeGraff, director of dispensaries at Missouri Made Marijuana, said they’re aiming to open in April and initially operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There will be 15 to 20 employees.
“I’d like to have a big grand opening celebration,” DeGraff said. “I think it’s going to be amazing, and we’re looking forward to giving the patients here a local spot.”
Product that will be readily available on opening day are pre-rolled joints, vape cartridges, concentrates and cannabis-infused gummies. Marijuana flowers will be ordered, but the current demand outweighs the supply.
DeGraff said all of the dispensaries that have opened are fighting over the same products from the same cultivators and producers.
“Flower is the thing we’re searching for right now,” DeGraff said. “If we can get it, we will. The cultivators are doing their best to separate out product amongst everybody, so we’re hoping to get our first order in tomorrow (Wednesday).”
Building renovations were completed in November, but the most time-consuming elements were inspections, licensing and the pandemic, according to Randy Black Sr., co-owner and founder of the company.
“What you see was completed on Nov. 20, but it took us that long to get the licenses. We were licensed yesterday,” he said Tuesday. “The pandemic was the biggest challenge.”
Flora Farms, 890 W. Harmony St. in Neosho, opened its doors on New Year’s Eve and has had a continuous, growing flow of customers. On opening day, supplies were limited with pre-rolled joints and cannabis-infused products like beverages and gummies.
But now more options are available.
“Flower represents typically 60% to 70% of the total business in the industry,” said Mark Hendren, president and co-owner of Flora Farms. “We started without that advantage, so the early numbers were good. We were averaging 100 customers a day in Neosho, and now that flower is here, that number is going up every single day. I’d say over 50 more customers a day.”
Marijuana flowers first arrived on the shelves in Neosho last week after being cultivated in company’s growing operation in Humansville over the past several months. The Neosho dispensary is offering at least 15 strains, including indica, sativa and hybrids. More strains will be added weekly, Hendren said.
“We’ve had great feedback, especially since flower arrived,” he said. “We’ve had people waiting for us to open every morning. Some days, we’ll have a line. We’re going to have the first vape cartridges in the state available at our stores next week, and people have been waiting on those for weeks and weeks.”
Flora Farms has placed its products in about 18 dispensaries over the last week where it’s harvesting, testing and shipping daily. Hendren said they’ve seen different medical conditions from patrons, and there’s no question that medical cannabis helps.
“It’s a medicine that works, and we see it every single day,” he said.
Published By: The Joplin Globe, Author Kimberly Barker