The state of Missouri has until Feb. 6 to approve adult-use recreational marijuana sale licenses for already-established medical dispensaries — and those in Columbia are gearing up for the transition.

Columbia dispensaries include High Profile, Green Releaf, Hippos Marijuana Dispensary, Shangri-La and 3Fifteen Primo Cannabis. High Profile, Green Releaf and Hippos have spent the weeks since adult-use cannabis was approved by Missouri voters in November getting ready.

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Calls to Shangri-La and 3Fifteen were not returned by time of publication.

The transition from medical to adult use is not reinventing the wheel, said Columbia attorney Dan Viets, who was one of the drafters of Amendment 3, approving adult-use marijuana.

“This has happened in 19 other states,” he said, adding these other states have done the transition in much the same way as Missouri. “I don’t anticipate problems arising. … Those who still maintain their medical cards will enjoy employment protection, and general adult users do not have that protection.”

Viets expects the first couple of weeks of sales will be robust before settling into a routine. Statewide sales tax on adult-use marijuana is set at 6%. The county and city also could impose up to 3% sales tax through a ballot question in April.

The state could see revenue benefits possibly in March, Viets said.

“What I anticipate is the state will reimburse itself first for the cost of expungements,” he said. “After, that the revenue is divided among addiction treatment, veteran services and the public defender system.”

Building capacity

Dispensaries have prepared by hiring more staff and building up stock, along with sales specials and other events planned for Feb. 6 and the days after.

“(We are focused on) head count. Making sure we were hiring more folks and anticipating the additional traffic from adult-use launch. Inventory build was another focus of ours,” said Jason Berkenstock, vice president of retail for C3 Industries, the parent company of High Profile.

This also included the purchase of more technology through registers and computer tablets to make the purchase experience easier for the influx of customers. High Profile, at 1500 Interstate 70 Drive SW, also is conducting medical marijuana sales through a separate line from recreational. Medical marijuana customers will have waitlist priority, Berkenstock said.

Hippos also has put its focus on increasing staffing and stock at its store at 2500 Broadway Bluffs Drive, Suite 102, said Jack College, manager.

“We had to increase our staff size across all three of our locations and get the store appearance squared away for having (more) people come through our doors,” he said.

More:When will marijuana be legal in Missouri? Rules and dates to know after Amendment 3 passed

Green Releaf, at 204 E. Broadway, has retooled all of its processes ahead of the start of adult-use sales, wrote Erik Hackett, chief operating officer, in an email this week.

“We’ve been hiring and training new staff, adding in additional equipment and increasing our inventory levels. We are prepared with plan A and plan B but we are also prepared to pivot and make adjustments on the fly if neither work,” he wrote.

Changing licenses

Transitioning from a medical use license to a comprehensive license has been smooth for Berkenstock and High Profile.

“The state has been very forthcoming with draft rules and draft rule revisions. They are making sure they are providing all of us in the industry with those appropriate updates,” he said, adding he has previous experience navigating the medical to adult-use transition when he worked with a different company in Illinois in 2020.

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Hippos applied for its comprehensive license on Dec. 6, College said, adding it was colleagues who were involved in the application process, but that the company has kept up-to-date with all the rule changes from the state.

“We are waiting on the state to approve all the licenses. We are in this limbo mode to where we are waiting on the state to tell us when we can open our doors to recreational sales,” College said.

Green Releaf also followed the comprehensive license transition process with the state, Hackett wrote.

Sales expectations

Dispensaries expect at least a doubling of sales and foot traffic once licenses are approved. For High Profile in Columbia, average daily transactions are between 200 to 250 for medical marijuana. So Berkenstock expects at least 400 to 500 transactions starting Feb. 6 and that remaining consistent even after the first couple weeks of adult-use sales.

“Once a store flips to the adult-use environment, it stays solid. It might fluctuate here and there,” Berkenstock said, adding the only thing that could affect sales revenue is an increase in the number of dispensaries, spreading out market share.

More:Under Amendment 3, can Missourians get fired for using recreational marijuana?

Sales vary between the Hippos stores, College said, but added that for medical marijuana sales, it will see between 25 to 50 customers per day in Columbia. College would not be surprised at seeing 400 people the first day of adult-use sales. This has been the experience at other states transitioning from medical to adult use, he said.

“That is going to level out to around the 250 to 300 customers per day,” College said.

Hackett did not have sales projections for Green Releaf, but did note all stores are expecting an increase in foot traffic after Feb. 6.

“Our main goal is to provide safe access to quality cannabis for as many people as possible,” he wrote.

Deals, celebrations planned

High Profile plans to give swag bags to the first 50 and sticker packs to the next 50 customers on adult-use launch day. The swag bag will have things like a hat, T-shirt, rolling papers and plastic grinder, among a couple other items. Customers who visit High Profile between noon and 2 p.m. or 4-6 p.m. will have a chance to spin a prize wheel, which also could net a hat, T-shirt, papers or grinder among other prizes.

High profile also is launching a new marijuana flower product known as Cloud Cover. It will exclusively be sold through High Profile before it transitions to other vendors a couple weeks later. To celebrate the launch, High Profile is conducting a 420 prize giveaway. Customers who sign up to be an HP Highroller between Feb. 6-11 are entered into the drawing for the first- through fourth-place prizes. First place is 1/2 ounce of flower of Cloud Cover. Winners will have an opportunity shop an hour early on April 20.

“It is great to see the response already and feedback from customers,” Berkenstock said.

Hippos does plan some special sales and promotions for the first day, but is also going to roll out the red carpet for customers, College said.

“We’ll have some events outside like a nice banner to take pictures in front of. We’ll have snacks, drinks and just overall a very inviting atmosphere. Cornhole games and stuff like that,” he said.

The variety of products available at Green Releaf will include flowers, pre-rolls, edibles and concentrates, Hackett wrote, adding there will be great deals “for anyone who plans to come out and make Missouri history.”

Charles Dunlap covers local government, community stories and other general subjects for the Tribune. You can reach him at or @CD_CDT on Twitter. Subscribe to support vital local journalism.

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