Medical cannabis sales start in Missouri

Customers lined up early for the opening of Missouri’s N’Bliss’ medical cannabis dispensaries Saturday. (Submitted)

Missouri made its first medical cannabis sales Saturday, as N’Bliss Cannabis Dispensaries opened doors in Manchester and Ellisville, about four miles apart in west suburban St. Louis. N’Bliss was among half a dozen dispensaries certified by state regulators for operations, but it obtained the first shipment of cannabis from a cultivator with tested product, Perryville’s Archimedes Medical Holdings, which got the go ahead to start growing in June.

“We chose the county based on demographics. Since it’s a medical market, we’re targeting areas that have certain issues with the opioid epidemic, and areas we knew were not saturated, like the city,” said Rebecca Reardon, Chief Marketing Officer for N’Bliss.

N’Bliss has licenses for a manufacturing facility in Festus, and three more dispensaries slated to open by December, in Festus, Ballwin, and House Springs. Including N’Bliss, which is licensed as “Nirvana Bliss LLC”, manufacturing facilities are yet to be certified in Missouri, so N’Bliss was only able to sell flower and pre-cut flower on Saturday. To manage the expected customer demand, N’Bliss stores only sold one ounce of product per customer. Missouri regulations allow four ounces per sale.

The Manchester location has been open since June, to sell CBD products, which are offered in a “front of house” location of the dispensary, said Reardon, who also says the N’Bliss team purposely did not seek a cultivation license.

“We have a long background in retail and distribution. We know retail. pretty much our entire leadership team is from the compliant industries: Beer, liquor, tobacco, petroleum. But still, this is the most heavily regulated industry I’ve ever worked in,” said Reardon.Fresh Green, a dispensary in Lee’s Summit, in suburban Kansas City, is expected to open for customers Monday.