KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri is in the midst of a pot shortage.
Originally, the state anticipated $60 million in sales since recreational marijuana hit shelves. Instead, sales have almost doubled that.
Industry insiders say out-of-staters have pushed demand much higher than expected. Some producers estimate that nearly half of all sales in the Kansas City area are coming from people living in Wyandotte and Johnson counties.
It is a scenario leading to a lot of money – and a lot of people wanting a piece of it.
At the Sheraton Kansas City, the Lucky Leaf Expo, focused on the marijuana business, targeted newbies wanting to get involved.
“Personally and professionally, I was a former school teacher. So if any of my students out there see this, hello and hi. But I am interested because I feel passionate about cannabis and I know its healing properties,” Amanda Weiss, one person attending the expo, said.
“So many questions – one is how to meet demand,” Erin Womack, director of operations for the Lucky Leaf Expo, said.
“Medical marijuana organizations are the ones granted the first ability to start selling the adult use – so right now there’s a lot of people really excited to get in the state lotto. There’s 144 licenses being issued for people who didn’t necessarily have the resources for a bigger company,” Womack said.
The expo also shows off new products – the start of a flood of options promised following recreational marijuana legalization. It is a slower process because the products are required to use Missouri-grown weed.
“This is just a standard pill. Don’t chew ’em. It’s like a vitamin. You would never chew that either,” Trevin Hoffman, National Director of Sales for Stash House Missouri, said.
“So we source either flower for either our pre-rolls or our blunts. Or we’re sourcing high grade distillate to infuse with our edible lines as well,” Hoffman said.
Addressing any shortage is really addressing high prices – the sort of prices that encourage people to stay underground.
But some exhibitors warn of what happens if the process was too open.
“Then the market gets flooded – and it’s overproduction. And then – again – people turn to the unlicensed market to get rid of their product. And it becomes an issue for quality control too because when they’re producing the product for so cheap – they really cut down on their quality,” Lauren Ruth, director of operations for West Coast Genetics, said.
The Lucky Leaf Expo continues through Saturday. Check out full information here.