MOBERLY — The owners of medical marijuana dispensaries opened their doors Tuesday in mid-Missouri. Members of the Missouri Cannabis Industry Association said the dispensaries could grow into a $480 million a year business.
Employees at Moberly’s Green Releaf Dispensary said their medical marijuana was a natural alternative to over the counter and harmful habit-forming drugs. Lonnie Kessler recently spent 9 days in intensive care, had 3 surgeries and doctors put 11 stints in his right leg.
Kessler said medical marijuana helped him deal with pain and reduced seizures. Kessler felt more comfortable using marijuana for pain relief instead of addictive opioids.
“In states that have legalized cannabis, we see a 25% reduction in opioid-related overdose deaths," Kessler said. "It’s great to have that as another tool that we can use rather than turning to the harmful pharmaceuticals.”
Customers must get a Missouri medical marijuana card with a doctor’s approval. Card-carrying customers could buy products containing THC which is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces a high sensation.
Most dispensaries also offered CBD cannabis products that did not require a medical card and did not produce a high sensation. Studies showed CBD oil helped with anxiety, depression, and seizures.
“If somebody was skeptical about it, we recommend they don’t have to jump into THC," Green Releaf Dispensary CEO Jay Patel said. "Try CBD. Try topicals and see the effects yourself. They always say, start slow and low.”
Patel used locally grown products to support Missouri’s economy. Patel has 4 medical marijuana dispensary locations. The Moberly store is open. His Mexico location opens later this week. A store opens in Troy by the end of November. His Columbia store opens by the end of December. Other dispensaries were open or under construction throughout the Mid-Missouri area.