Why are Medical Marijuana Prices in Missouri So High?
Medical Marijuana Prices in Missouri Have Been High, But They are Coming Down
If you are suffering from sticker shock over the price of medical marijuana in Missouri, you are not alone. We imagine almost everyone in the Show-Me State has been experiencing similar frustrations since they voted to legalize therapeutic cannabis.
Missouri marijuana laws took their final shape and came to market at a painfully slow pace. Nearly two years passed between the time voters overwhelmingly supported medical marijuana in November 2018, and the first dispensary opened in October 2020.
Now that dispensaries in Missouri are opening at a rapid pace, the upstart struggle is reflected in pricing of products. Regulations are strict, and supply is still limited. Some dispensaries have delayed their openings due to lack of inventory, and prices are usually very high when they welcome their first customers.
You may still be waiting for a dispensary to open in your region. If you are lucky enough to have a dispensary within driving distance, seeing the price of ⅛ of an ounce of flower at your local shop could induce cold sweats.
In some places, it’s as high as $80.
Hope is On the Horizon for Medical Marijuana Prices in Missouri
Fortunately for patients in Missouri looking to use medical marijuana to relieve everything from anxiety to cancer, prices will not stay so high forever. They are already coming down at larger dispensaries that have wider access to supply, and they will continue to drop everywhere as availability of product becomes more established.
In the rest of this article, we are going to take a look at all the reasons why prices are so high, when you can expect them to start coming down, and what you can do to help.
Why is Medical Marijuana in Missouri So Darned Expensive?
The price of medical marijuana is affected by a number of factors. Some of them are related to Federal laws and restrictions, some are related to individual State programs, and others are simply a result of the way a free market operates.
Federal Laws Contributing to the Price of Your Medical Marijuana
Most of us are already aware that marijuana is still on the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s List of Controlled Substances despite legalization for medical and recreational use all over the country.
Two-thirds of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal in some form, and bills are regularly moving through the US House and Senate, but obstacles remain for free and seamless operation.
Most Banks Won’t Assume the Risk
Many banks will not work with companies in the cannabis industry due to the legal and financial risk involved. Anyone interested in getting into cannabis through growing, selling, processing, or other services needs to have the startup cash in hand before they can even file paperwork.
In addition to not having access to loans, cannabis companies often must use payment processors and banks that take an enormous cut of the profit in order to cover their own burden of risk.
And on the subject of risk, most insurance companies will not cover businesses in the cannabis industry. The wildfires that plagued the West Coast in 2020 speak to the troubles many face as they try to make a name in cannabis. Thousands of acres of crops eventually burned right before harvest, but there was little relief by way of insurance coverage.
Missouri’s State Medical Marijuana Regulations (Meant for Your Safety) Also Making Cannabis More Expensive
Regulators in the state of Missouri have your health and safety at the forefront of their policy-making agenda. Unfortunately, your budget is lower on their list of concerns.
Cumbersome quality control is one of the biggest contributors to the high cost of medical marijuana in Missouri right now. Not only must cultivators meet stringent guidelines, pay breathtaking fees, and pass a whole rigamarole of inspections before the first seedlings can even be planted, but then they must meet tight quality standards through highly detailed lab analysis.
By the end of 2020, there were only three cultivators up and running, with just one supplying the majority of the medical marijuana that was available to all 66,000 registered patients at the time.
We can’t be too mad at the tight regulations on medical marijuana, though. Missouri inspectors are ensuring that patients have access to the highest-quality medical-grade marijuana products possible.
Your medical marijuana is certain to be pure and free of pesticide residue as well as other toxins. Unlike what you find on the street or in a less regulated market, you can trust that you are getting precisely what is on the label.
Additionally, as supply begins to catch up with demand, you will be able to find the right strains to create a tailored approach to treating your specific symptoms.
… And Let’s Not Forget Taxes
Many states are using specially-imposed medical and recreational marijuana taxes to help close budget gaps and fund programs that improve the quality of life for people in their communities.
In Missouri, medical marijuana costs an additional 4% on top of the regular sales tax, but it goes to an honorable cause—and it’s already making a difference. By September 2020, more than $2 million had gone to help fund veterans’ health, housing, and personal and professional development programs.
Missouri Medical Marijuana Prices Won’t Stay This High Forever
Medical marijuana in Missouri is in its infancy. Newer programs always begin with sky-high prices as growers, processors, and dispensaries all struggle to recoup their startup investments quickly.
Strict licensing and regulatory requirements generally begin to relax just a little, in order to make room for the industry to grow after it shows promise. And Missouri’s medical marijuana program certainly does that.
Medical Marijuana is a Growing Industry in Missouri
As of January 2021, more than 100 thousand patients had applied for medical marijuana, and more than $14 million in medical marijuana sales have been completed since the first dispensary opened in October 2020.
All of this points to a successful first year for the Missouri medical marijuana program, and for the companies supporting the market right now.
As we move into 2021, more cultivators will finally be authorized to begin their operations. Some medical marijuana cultivators that also manufacture their own products (making the whole process less expensive) are also getting up and running.
Companies that manage their products from seed to sale can generally offer much lower prices because there are fewer hands between who grows and who sells the product. Proper Cannabis—which does everything in-house—will have its first products on shelves in April 2021.
Additionally, Greenlight Cannabis has already opened several dispensaries across Missouri. Prices are lower than just about anywhere else in part because they grow, manufacture, and sell their own medical marijuana.
What Can You Do to Help Missouri’s Medical Marijuana Prices Come Down?
Getting your Missouri medical marijuana card is one of the best things you can do to show regulators, cultivators, and dispensaries that there is a genuine need for medical marijuana products. As the number of people with recommendations from a doctor continues to climb, so will the urgency of the program and the confidence of suppliers.
When regulators see that the demand for medical marijuana in Missouri is not just a novelty—and businesses in the industry know they will get return on their investments—prices will start to fall into a more affordable range for patients across the state.
If you can’t quite afford to buy a steady supply of medical marijuana products for the price at which they are currently offered, you could try your hand at growing your own, or searching for a registered caregiver that has room for more patients.
And don't forget to check out our Guide to Saving Money at Missouri Medical Marijuana Dispensaries for tips and tricks to get relief without draining your wallet!
Get Your Missouri Medical Marijuana Card Today!
If you do not yet have a medical marijuana card, now is the perfect time to invest in your health and well-being. At Missouri Marijuana Card, we are here to help every step of the way, whether you are just trying to get some questions answered or you’re ready to get your recommendation. Give us a call at 877-303-3117, or click here to schedule your telehealth appointment online right now.