Thanks to the 2018 constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana that Missouri voters approved, their veterans are reaping monetary benefits. The second required transfer of revenue from the state’s medical marijuana program to the Missouri Veterans Commission was $6,843,310, a huge jump from last September’s transfer of $2,135,510.
A provision under the constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana, known as Article XIV, requires “that fees and taxes collected by [Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services] for the medical marijuana program, less operational expenses, should be transferred to the [Missouri Veterans Commission] for health and care services for military veterans,” the agency said in a press release.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported that sales for medical marijuana had surpassed $91 million. Although they’re still short of the 192 dispensaries required by the amendment, the agency said the medical cannabis program includes over 140 dispensaries and employs roughly 5,000 people.
“The amendment that was voted on said that we should open the minimum number at least, which was 192 dispensaries,” said Lyndall Fraker, director of the section of medical marijuana with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “We’ve done the math, and based on the number of quantities that each patient can purchase each month, how much product it would take to serve the patient base, and we think we are going to be good for five or six years. In a news release from the Department, Fraker expanded, saying “Patients are being served by more than 140 dispensary facilities in Missouri now, and we are very pleased to see their sales revenue where it is. Ultimately, this is how we are able to provide much-needed funding for the veteran’s commission.”
Paul Kirchhoff, Missouri Veterans Commission executive director, said, “MVC will use these funds for veterans’ health and safety initiatives designated in House Bill 8. A portion of these funds will also be used to complete the Missouri Veterans Cemetery – Jacksonville columbarium wall.”
According to High Times, the Department noted that it has “collected fees related to facility and patient licensing,” and that “Article XIV states that medical marijuana sold in licensed dispensaries will be taxed at a rate of 4%.” It also states that the remainder of medical marijuana funds is required to go to the veterans commission “for health and care services for military veterans, including the following purposes: operations, maintenance and capital improvements of the Missouri veterans homes, the Missouri service officer’s program and other services for veterans approved by the commission, including, but not limited to, health care services, mental health services, drug rehabilitation services, housing assistance, job training, tuition assistance and housing assistance to prevent homelessness.”