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Missouri tops $12 million in marijuana sales during opening rec weekend

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The numbers are in: Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services today offered the first glimpse into just how well the Show-Me State’s first weekend of recreational cannabis sales went.

On Friday, Feb. 3, Missouri’s 198 operating dispensaries combined to sell more than $3 million in recreational marijuana and nearly $2 million in medical cannabis. On Saturday, rec sales eclipsed $3.3 million and medical sales dipped to $1.3 million. Consumers in the Show-Me State scaled back on Sunday, buying close to $2.2 million in adult-use marijuana and about $900,000 in medical product.

The weekend saw a grand total of $12.7 million in weed sales, $8.5 million coming from recreational buyers and the other $4.2 million coming from medical cardholders.

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After a big weekend, stores settle into a normal groove

Last week state officials suprised nearly everyone by giving stores the green light to go ahead with adult-use weed sales on Friday, rather than wait until Monday, as was expected. That kicked off a busy weekend for consumers, who went looking for their nearest store, and retailers, who saw an early surge in sales.

By Monday morning, things had calmed down. A tour of St. Louis-area stores found a smattering of curious customers served by budtenders still catching their breath.

The waiting room at Root66 South Grand sat empty shortly after the popular store opened at 10 a.m. Monday. But the weekend was another story, according to budtender Patrick O’Donnell. After serving some 40 paying customers each day during the medical–only era, the Root66 location — one of three Root66 stores in St. Louis — saw upwards of 200 paying customers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend when state authorities turned the switch to rec.

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“Absolutely insane,” O’Donnell said. “We had lines of people from the time we opened to pretty much the minute we closed.”

Root66 employees found out late last Thursday night that Missouri could start rec sales last Friday instead of today, O’Donnell said. They learned the dispensary had the green light for adult use at 6 a.m. Friday, and met the exciting day with mixed feelings.

They’d slowly been loading up the dispensary, a converted former McDonald’s restaurant, for weeks. Even so, the early start had Root66 out of stock for nearly one-third of its preroll menu.

Customers packed the store’s waiting rooms by the dozen over the weekend, with some 20 to 25 people waiting at a time. Thankfully, lines didn’t get long enough to leave customers outside in the freezing St. Louis cold.

No lines, no waiting on Monday morning

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St. Louis resident Deion Harris stopped by Root66 Monday morning to reload on “Fruit by the Foot” pre-rolls. (Photo: Chris Kudialis for Leafly)

Local resident Deion Harris visited Monday morning to load up on Root66’s popular “Fruit by the Foot” pre-rolls, after burning through the inventory he bought on Friday. Three half-gram joints, sold for $14, was enough to get through one evening, Harris said. But he tripled his order on Monday morning.

“I’m really glad this day is here and that we can all buy legitimate cannabis,” he said. “It’s still mostly cheaper on the street, but you’re definitely getting what you pay for here.”

Viola in St. Louis: Yes, it’s actually open

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Pro tip: It’s already open. Despite its Coming Soon sign, the store owned by ex-NBA stars is already serving the people of St. Louis. (Photo: Chris Kudialis for Leafly)

Former NBA stars Al Harrington and Larry Hughes announced just two weeks ago they’d be opening downtown St. Louis’ first dispensary and the city’s only Black-owned weed store. Built right across a small crosswalk from a hulking new Major League Soccer stadium and just down the road from St. Louis’ hockey and baseball stadiums, Viola STL couldn’t have found a better spot for reaching the tens of thousands of sports fans that grace the area nearly every night.

Fast forward two weeks after Harrington and Hughes’ announcement, and a giant sign above Viola’s front entrance still says “Coming Soon.” But guess what: It’s actually open.

The door is unlocked and leads to a waiting room, and then a shopping area where a staff of three smiling budtenders stand ready to serve customers.

The weed for sale is from the grow houses of rival dispensaries: Good Day Farm, Prosper Cannabis and Illicit. But there’s no doubt the much ballyhooed store is already up and running, if not thriving.

“We’re going to have our own flower in here very soon,” said Managing Partner Dan Pettigrew. “We’re really excited to become a big part of this community and Missouri’s industry.”

Good Day Farm: ‘It’s been a fun craziness’

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Good Day Farm’s Brand Manager Luke Gerau shows off the company’s smorgasbord of edibles behind a display table where customers can lift glass coverings to smell samples of popular flower terpene profiles. (Photo: Chris Kudialis for Leafly)

Staffers at Good Day Farm St. Louis spent more than a month building up the store’s inventory for an expected rush of pot buyers on Monday—only to have them show up on Friday. Good Day Farms saw over three times as many paying customers during its first weekend of rec than a typical medical-only weekend. They expect to see that trend to continue in the days ahead.

“The early start was a blessing in disguise because it staggered out the rush and made us more accessible,” said Luke Gerau, Good Day’s brand manager. “We got a ton of customers and it didn’t require anyone having to wait in long lines.”

As part of Good Day expanding its team (200 employees across its 19 dispensaries in Missouri) the number of budtenders at the St. Louis store at any given time expanded from three to five. On Monday morning, the beefed-up staff offered extra assistance to a pair of customers who had the shopping floor all to themselves.

The customers, brothers from St. Louis in their 30s, asked not to be identified. But they smiled as they walked out of the dispensary with eighths of Blueberry Headband and Poison OG flower.

“Enough to get us high,” one of them cracked.

Laurie Gregory, Good Day’s chief marketing officer, said the majority of the products flying off the store’s shelves are flower goodies like pre-rolls and eighths, but added that concentrates and edibles each make up about 15 of total sales. The company also grows and sells Titty Sprinkles, one of Missouri’s most popular strains whose grower donates a portion of proceeds to breast cancer research groups.

“It’s been a crazy few days,” Gregory said, “but it’s a fun craziness.”



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Andrew Cooper

Germany Deflates GOP’s Anti Marijuana Efforts

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The GOP’s argument against marijuana took a body blow from Germany

Running against the grain of public sentiment, some members of the GOP are fighting against cannabis rescheduling and trying to be clever.  The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is still having internal discussions about whether to reschedule cannabis from a schedule I to schedule III-controlled substance with some in the GOP wishing to stop the process.  But along comes Germany and they are deflating their efforts.

Germany has the biggest economy in the EU and are a leader in the United Nations and NATO.  A practical country, they just legalized marijuana. Officials shared legalization would undermine criminal trade in the drug, guard against harmful impurities, and free police to pursue more serious crimes alongside providing medical benefits.

RELATED: California or New York, Which Has The Biggest Marijuana Mess

Republican Senators Jim Risch (R-), Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Pete Ricketts (R-NB) are unhappy with the the administration’s plan to reschedule marijuana. To stop or slow the process, these senators question if it violate US treaty obligations. Data shows 89% of citizens believe it should be legal in some form, so they are definitely swimming against the flow of public opinion. Additionally, science, data and the healthcare community have proven it has clear medical benefits.

Pete Ricketts (R-NB)

The United Nations’s (UN) drug control body reaffirmed legalizing marijuana for non-medical or non-scientific purposes a violation of international treaties.  But enforcement is non-existent.  While Uruguay was technical the first, Canada was the first to fully implement it and the UN has done nothing.  Since then Georgia, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand have made the move without any issues.

The Senators move has some support in the house, but Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has made it clear he wants progress on cannabis legalization.  Germany’s move severely undercuts the GOPs efforts.

Andrew Cooper, partner at Falcon Rappaport & Berkman LLP, one of the top cannabis law firms believes “Consequently, if anything, the fact that Germany legalized adult-use cannabis despite all the hurdles (including not only the Single Convention, but the Schengen Convention of 1985, the EU Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 2004, and the Narcotic Drug Act (BtMG), when the U.S. only really needs to address (and likely ignore) the Single Convention, may provide some impetus to the DEA to follow suit”.

RELATED: Americans Want It, Some Politicians Prefer a Nanny State

Tom Zuber, Managing Partner of Zuber Lawler whose west coast firm has a robust cannabis division states “It’s exciting to see Germany making history by legalizing cannabis at the recreational level as the largest economy in the European Union. I hope that Germany’s leadership on this front will inspire other countries throughout the world to do the same, including the United States.



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Andrew Cooper

Will Germany’s Legalizing Marijuana Push The DEA

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Yet another major country has legalized marijuana – hopefully the DEA is paying attention.  Here are some expert’s take on where it stands.

Another major country made the commitment, but will Germany’s legalizing marijuana push the DEA to act? Germany joined Malta and Luxembourg in Europe. Officials shared  legalization would undermine criminal trade in the drug, guard against harmful impurities, and free police to pursue more serious crimes.  In doing so, they have ignored the UN ban and joins other countries including Canada, Uruguay, and South Africa.

RELATED: Americans Are Choosing Marijuana Over Alcohol

In the United States, the cannabis is still awaiting on decision from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regarding rescheduling.  After a very slow start to his commitment, President Biden is moving now on his campaign promise and give younger voters another reason to support him.  But according to Pew Research Center, an overwhelming 88% of U.S. adults say either that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use by adults (59%) or that it should be legal for medical use only (30%). Only one-in-ten (10%) say marijuana use should not be legal. It is a popular decision and is widely used in blue and red states and in legal and illicit states. Key experts have weighed in on whether Germany’s move will push for the DEA to act soon.

“We do not see Germany’s progress having much impact on the DEA.  Our thesis is we are witnessing a coordinated democratic effort to advance cannabis reform ahead of the election to mobilize and sway younger voters. We continue to believe it is unlikely that the head of the DEA (a Biden appointee) will go against the HHS recommendation in an election year. So, we remain optimistic that we’ll land on Schedule III, but do not see Germany as a major driver of US reform.” says Jesse Redmond, Managing Partner, Water Tower Research.

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Andrew Cooper, partner at Falcon Rappaport & Berkman LLP, one of the top cannabis law firms believes “Consequently, if anything, the fact that Germany legalized adult-use cannabis despite all the hurdles (including not only the Single Convention, but the Schengen Convention of 1985, the EU Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 2004, and the Narcotic Drug Act (BtMG), when the U.S. only really needs to address (and likely ignore) the Single Convention, may provide some impetus to the DEA to follow suit”.

RELATED: Maine Is Getting It Right About Legal Weed While California And Others Struggle

Tom Zuber, Managing Partner of Zuber Lawler whose west coast firm has a robust cannabis division states “It’s exciting to see Germany making history by legalizing cannabis at the recreational level as the largest economy in the European Union. I hope that Germany’s leadership on this front will inspire other countries throughout the world to do the same, including the United States.

Time will tell if will Germany’s legalizing marijuana push the DEA to act.



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BDSA

Is The Administration Racing To Reschedule By 4/20

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After dragging their feet  for 3 years, the Biden administration seems to be putting some juice to get the DEA to move

Is it opening the door to a new era? It seems the Biden administration has suddenly decided to follow up on their 2020 campaign promises. But does the sense of urgency reflect not only their need to engage younger voters but something else? Is the administration racing to reschedule by 4/20. President Biden brought up federal rescheduling as part of his proclamation declaring April to be “Second Chance Month.”  Followed by his mentioning it in the State of the Union, this should be a signal to the Federal Drug Agency (FDA) to move on the recommendation by other agency and act.

RELATED: California or New York, Which Has The Biggest Marijuana Mess

Having made the promise, for almost the first 3 years of his tenure, Biden barely acknowledged the cannabis industry. This despite sales in the industry continues to grow and now, over 50% of the country has legal access to products.  Those under 40 have an entirely different take on marijuana with Gen Z drifting away from alcohol and moving to weed.  Beer sales have mirrored the societal shift. They have been out of step with the public.

joe biden kamala harris
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Biden is struggling with younger voters. Media like the New York Times has been piling on by highlighting why he is losing and gently making it a much bigger issue.  The campaign is concerned and sees to reengage this demographic. Biden is viewed favorably by only 31% of people ages 18 through 29, much worse than he fares with other age groups, according to a recent Economist/YouGov poll.

The White House begrudgingly started the process of rescheduling last year.  Currently, cannabis classified as having zero medical benefit is lumped into the same category as heroin and LSD.  Neither alcohol or tobacco are boxed into this category despite having zero health benefits and litany of problems the does cause.

Rescheduling would be an immediate benefit to an industry struggling with a host of issues including tough business rules around the classification, chaos in the New York and California market, and a dropping of flower prices.  Some older Senators including James Risch (R-ID) and Pete Ricketts (R-NE) are making a last ditch effort to stop the process.

RELATED: Americans Want It, Some Politicians Prefer a Nanny State

While 4/20 has long been a wink wink nod to marijuana use for those in the know, thanks to the legal sales it is another big media day.  Like the 4th of July or Drinksgiving/Green Wednesday, it is a time where they could get the most engagement with the public.



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