The green getaway: Cannabis tourism and its impact in Missouri
In Missouri, recreational marijuana represents not just a cultural shift but an economic catalyst, especially in the tourism sector. Adult use marijuana has opened up a new realm of possibilities for businesses and entrepreneurs, positioning Missouri as a major player in the cannabis tourism industry.
Missouri’s cannabis industry is not only redefining the state’s cultural landscape but also boosting its economy. The introduction of marijuana microbusiness licenses will further enhance this landscape, creating a niche market within the state.
Economic Growth and Job Creation
Missouri’s cannabis industry has seen robust growth since the launch of medical sales in 2020. In 2023, recreational sales hit a peak in September with sales of $98.20 million. In October, Missouri surpassed the $1 billion mark in annual sales for 2023. Since the launch of adult use in February, monthly sales have consistently been 3-4 times higher than the medical-only market, with dispensaries averaging over $119 million each month. The total projected sales for 2023 are estimated to reach more than $1.3 billion. This growth is significant, as the cannabis industry was responsible for creating one in every ten new jobs in Missouri in 2022, and that growth has continued in 2023.
Cannabis Tourism and Microbusiness Licenses
Missouri’s diverse landscape, rich cultural heritage, and welcoming community make it an ideal destination for cannabis tourism. The state’s thriving cannabis industry is expected to attract both in-state and out-of-state visitors to dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses. This influx of tourists should provide a considerable boost in revenue, further driving the growth of the state’s economy. The cannabis tourism sector has the potential to enhance awareness and support for the recreational marijuana program in Missouri, helping to reduce stigma and increase acceptance of marijuana in the state. Additionally, the introduction of 48 new microbusiness licenses further diversifies Missouri’s cannabis market. These licenses, split between dispensaries and wholesale operations, are designed to enable marginalized or underrepresented individuals to participate in the legal marijuana market. Each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts received six licenses, two dispensaries and four wholesalers, respectively, contributing to the creation of what should be a craft-centric submarket focused on small-batch and artisanal cannabis products.
Craft Cannabis’ Community Impact
The craft cannabis market, characterized by smaller-scale, high-quality production, offers a unique appeal to cannabis tourists. Missouri’s microbusinesses, with their expected focus on craft cannabis, have the potential to attract a niche segment of tourists seeking artisanal and locally-produced cannabis products. The state’s limitation on the number of flowering plants for microgrowers fosters a market for small-batch, high-quality products that differ from those offered by larger, more comprehensive cultivators.
Market Stabilization and Consumer Trends
As the Missouri cannabis market stabilizes, a nuanced understanding of sales figures is crucial. While total revenue may show a declining trend, this doesn’t necessarily indicate a shrinking consumer base. The stabilization is likely to bring about reduced product prices due to economies of scale, increased supply, and efficiency improvements in the production and distribution chain. This reduction in pricing could lead to an increase in the volume of products purchased and potentially attract more consumers, even as initial revenue figures decline.
Comparisons and Context
Missouri’s approach, focusing on a balance between taxation and regulation, positions it uniquely compared to other states. While some states face challenges like overproduction and price compression, Missouri’s cannabis industry is , for the foreseeable future, poised for upward growth. This scenario, combined with its location, makes Missouri a viable destination for cannabis tourism, especially for neighboring states with stricter regulations or no regulated cannabis programs.
While the prospects are promising, there are challenges to address for a successful cannabis tourism industry. Legal and safety concerns, stigma surrounding cannabis use, and the need for education and awareness are vital issues. Ensuring that tourists can safely and legally enjoy cannabis, addressing public perceptions, and educating visitors about the laws and medical benefits of cannabis are essential steps for the industry’s success.
Missouri is on the brink of establishing a significant niche in cannabis tourism, particularly with the advent of adult-use sales and the introduction of craft-centric microbusiness licenses, the state is poised for significant growth and diversification. The state’s unique position in the cannabis market, with its blend of traditional and microbusiness operations, offers a promising future for both local economies and the tourism sector. The craft cannabis market represents an exciting new frontier, promising to enhance Missouri’s appeal as a cannabis tourism destination and contribute to its economic landscape while bolstering existing marijuana licenses and overall access. With the right balance of regulation, community engagement, and educational efforts, the state could see a substantial economic boost and continued job creation, solidifying its position as a key player in the national cannabis market.