Juree Burgett and Tanya Knight traveled about three hours from the neighboring state of Kansas to buy cannabis, which is prohibited in their state.
“That’s not allowed in Kansas, even for medical use,” Burgett, 64, says angrily.
The business is located in a depressed area of Kansas City, five minutes down the road from the border of Kansas and Missouri, a conservative state that has just legalized recreational cannabis.
The measure, voted by referendum in November, created an economic boom that brought thousands of consumers from neighboring states to these agricultural fields of the central United States.
Buying marijuana in this licensed store is “easier than getting it on the street” from an illegal seller, Juree explains. Tanya nods.
Both come with gum that contains THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, a common product in a country where half of the 50 states have some form of decriminalized marijuana.
Tanya was a pastry chef; Juree, the dietician, both retired. Before the reformation of Missouri, they used to visit the pioneer of the state of Colorado for two days in these matters. one way alone took eight hours.
The trip “costs us a lot of money, almost as much as marijuana. Now we go for three hours,” explains Tanya with a small package in hand and a smile.
For Osteoarthritis and Cavity “It really works. Really.”
Drop by drop
Seven of the eight states bordering Missouri have banned recreational cannabis, so these out-of-town customers are cash cows for local businesses. This one, from the company Proper Cannabis, makes up more than half of the clientele.
“They’re coming straight away, from all over. It’s crazy!” Chris Brown confirms at the counter, which was served by two sisters with multicolored hats and long hair.
Cannabis sales in Missouri reached $103 million in February, the first month since recreational use was approved, up from $37.2 million in January. In Missouri, the use of cannabis for medical purposes has been legal since the end of 2020.
“We’re dumbfounded,” says Jack Cardetti, spokesman for the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association (MoCann Trade), according to which the local cannabis market will reach $1.2 billion in one year.
Twenty minutes from the store, between frozen fields and huge logistics floors, stands an unmarked hangar. Behind the cameras and the security station are almost 2,800 square meters of cannabis plants.
Louie Sebald, the young manager of the establishment, says that within three weeks this farm will produce the Illicit garden industry, at full capacity, 680 kg of flowers per month.
Sun and rain do not enter the hangar. The ceiling is full of LED lights, and there are sprinklers and sensors everywhere. The green light illuminates the corridors and dryers of this marijuana factory considered to be my true gold.
Sebald gives the cost of eating: $400 per pound (CDL). Product sales price: $2,300 per pound (0.45 kilograms). “Do the math: it’s almost a $2,000-per-mna margin,” he exults.
Next is the accelerated spring-autumn shoot cycle of 77 days. In the hallway, worker Shastyn Keterman prepares barcode labels to be affixed to each floor.
Sebald, 35, does not stop doing interviews. You need to increase your workforce from 130 to approximately 170 employees. In the state, 13,000 people work in the province, especially in rural areas where industrial and agricultural businesses are disappearing.
The state isn’t starting from scratch: Missouri has allowed cannabis for medical use for more than two years. The campaign for legalization, in the fall of 2022, is built on the success of that program, which is multiple in the area.
In the end, more than 53% of the electorate supported the legalization of marijuana in Missouri, a traditionally right-wing state.
Under a green light marijuana factory, a worker shakes the THC-laden flowers to make sure they’re not wet. In the opposite room others are packing. Cannabis seeds are processed here and directly pressed. One machine also makes pre-rolled joints, which sells like hot cakes.
“Let’s go buy one and smoke somewhere,” said Tanya. “And then home.” His sister laughs: “We will be traveling for three hours!”.