Lopez’s 2023 Projection
With recreational marijuana passing, industry sales could eventually hit $1 billion annually, but $700 million is more likely for this year.
With Missouri voters passing recreational marijuana in November, what are you envisioning for growth of the statewide industry in 2023?
This year, we’ll get close to doubling [sales] as long as the licenses are handed out by Feb. 8, which is in the constitution. If that happens, we’ll double last year’s numbers fairly easily and perhaps triple them. What we’ve been seeing is a lot of new manufacturers coming up with new brands, new products, and getting ready for this push. We’re also doing the same thing, coming out with time-release pills and offering those to cancer patients. We’re going to give those for a greatly reduced price at our North Glenstone dispensary. Our manufacturing and dispensary are teaming up for that.
What impact could the issue’s passage have on drawing customers to Missouri from other states, such as Arkansas and Kansas, where adult-use marijuana is not legal?
It’s going to bring a lot of extra people into the state. Kentucky just passed something stating that they’re OK with bringing marijuana back over across the border. States are getting clever on how to avoid some of these federal laws. Illinois with their tax rate, we’re going to see a big influx of people from Illinois into the St. Louis area. We’ll see Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky; we’ll have people crossing the border probably a lot. The ways our rules are written is if they’re over 21 and have a valid ID, it won’t matter if it’s in state or out of state. It directly impacts our Springfield [dispensary] location just because that’s right off of [Interstate] 44 and it’s easy access. They can jump off the highway, go through the drive-thru and get back on.
Passage of Amendment 3 also creates a new category of cannabis licenses reserved for small businesses. The microbusinesses will be selected through a lottery, eventually adding at least 144 licensed facilities to the roughly 350 licensed and certified cannabis businesses operating in the state. Any concern about the field becoming too crowded?
I don’t think there is really any concern there from a patient or client point of view. With more cultivators comes more competition. With dispensaries, there’s over 100 dispensaries just in Tulsa. (Missouri) going from 192 with the dispensaries and increasing by 30 or 40, whatever that ends up being, I don’t think that’s going to be a huge factor in competition, especially because we were one of the first to market and we’ve built a good marketing plan, referral program and VIP program. Healthy competition helps at every level.
What hurdles do you still see ahead for the young industry?
The biggest hurdle still is marketing. You can’t do paid ads. There’s a little bit of relief with LinkedIn and Twitter, but you can’t do Google ads, you can’t do Facebook ads and can’t do target marketing. Letting our clients know what our specials are and what is up and coming, and things like that, you have to be very creative with engagement posts and organic growth so that they still see what you’re talking about.
Surgical tech workers are in high demand, officials say.