The impacts of medical marijuana are growing with another dispensary opening in the mid-Missouri region.
Missouri Health and Wellness held its grand opening for its Jefferson City location Monday. This is its third location to open, with others open or soon to open in Sedalia, Washington, Belton and Kirksville. The Sedalia and Washington locations already are open. The company still is working with the state to open the other two locations.
“(Jefferson City) is the fourth one that has passed its final inspection. We have one more to pass the inspection,” said Kathleen Beebe, Missouri Health and Wellness regional manager. “A lot of times there are nuances in the rules, so we always call the state and double-check. They have been very responsive in helping us.”
This follows other regional openings by medical marijuana dispensaries in Columbia and mid-Missouri communities such as Mexico and Moberly.
3Fifteen Primo Cannabis in Columbia held its grand opening over the Christmas holiday week last month. This was the first dispensary to open in Columbia, with six more expected from a variety of companies.
One difference between Missouri Health and Wellness and other dispensaries is an eye toward education. While other dispensary websites have “frequently asked questions” pages, Health and Wellness also provides information on types of marijuana plants and their effects. They also have a patient guide.
“This is a very new market, and what we are finding is our demographic seems to be 60-plus,” Beebe said. “Some of them have never used cannabis. They are hesitant and don’t know a lot about it.”
This means staff also has to be knowledgeable about medical issues a patient may have, such as pain management or sleep disorders, and about available products when conducting a consultation.
Those who work on the sales floor are known as wellness specialists and went through a two-week training prior to opening.
“We have a training coordinator who has been working in a dispensary for five years and has extensive knowledge,” Beebe said. “She developed some training modules.”
The process for a person filling a prescription is similar to other regional dispensaries. The Missouri Health and Wellness Jefferson City location is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Patients first will receive a temperature check and hand sanitizer when entering. Patients must also wear face masks. They then will visit a verification window where they will receive a patient packet for record-keeping purposes. Patient and government identifications are checked, and they then work one-on-one with a wellness specialist on the sales floor.
For patients needing more time or for more privacy, private consultations in a separate room also are available, Beebe said.
“There are a lot of new people that haven’t used cannabis, so some people need more time, so that is why we offer the private consultation,” she said.
Products currently available include cannabis-infused drinks, gummies and prerolled joints. Product availability will increase as more manufacturers and cultivators start to operate, Beebe said.
The coordination with the state’s Department of Health and Human Services has been smooth, Beebe said, noting they were among the first dispensaries to open in the state.
It is exciting to open in Missouri’s capital city, she added.
“Each time we go into a new market, we don’t know what to expect,” she said. “We are super excited to be opening in Jefferson City, to be the first one in Jefferson City.”
Shangri-La dispensaries, which plans to open two locations in Columbia, also will have a Jefferson City location.
Beebe was not sure what to expect going into the first day in Jefferson City. Other locations that opened had a line out the door, while the other had a steady stream of business, but there was not a waiting line.
“We are fine with whatever way it goes,” she said. “We expect it to be a busy store. There is a big market here.”