Business at the two medical marijuana dispensaries that opened in St. Joseph this summer are doing well, staff at both facilities said.
Jericho Heese, director of marketing for Fresh Karma Dispensaries, said he has seen a boom in medical marijuana patients recently. The store has a storefront on 2221 N. Belt Highway.
“We’ve been open for just over two months and the citizens of St. Joe really embraced Fresh Karma,” said Heese. “You see a lot of people all over town wearing our merchandise and using our medical cannabis and stuff.
With more people getting medical marijuana cards – 56,000 of them were issued nationwide in the final year of the medical cannabis program – some believe the negative stigma surrounding marijuana is starting to weaken. Chris McHugh, CEO and President of Vertical, said he was pleased with the public response so far. The company has a pharmacy on 908 N. Belt Highway and a manufacturing and cultivation facility at 3101 Townesouth Court.
“I think we were received very well. I am very pleased with the reception we received, ”said McHugh. “I don’t think the marijuana stigma really has much power or strength. As you can see, this store is top class high end retail. This is not a smoker’s shop. It’s just a different industry than I think people expect. “
The staff at both pharmacies said that education and awareness and community impact are at the fore of their business.
“We will start even more community projects, maybe more community seminars or something like that,” said Heese. “We have also cleaned up Hyde Park massively. We hit side to side, from the baseball fields all the way down to the skate park. It was something we were very happy to be a part of. “
As more people apply for and get approved medical marijuana cards, patient education remains a top priority for those at the retail level. This includes not only ensuring that medical needs are met, but also that patients know what to do in different circumstances.
“We open the pharmacy on Sundays at 10 a.m. and don’t sell. We just invite people in and we sit down and talk to them about anything they want to talk about, ”said McHugh. “We’re talking about what happens when you get stopped in your car and you have marijuana and you have a medical certificate, what to do, and how to deal with cops.”
With supporters already lining up to put recreational marijuana on the ballot for the state of Missouri within the next year, medical dispensaries might just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the future of cannabis in Show-Me state.