Missouri’s medical marijuana industry remains in early stages of development. The Show-Me State cracked its first $100 million in cumulative sales for the year at the end of August, state records show. Dispensaries started opening in mid-October 2020, and the grand sales total since they opened is about $113 million.
By contrast, as cannabis industry publication GrownIn reported Monday, two bigger states with older legal marijuana programs, Michigan and Illinois, each sold more than $150 million in marijuana products during the month of August alone.
To get another idea of the size of Missouri’s young cannabis industry, think about the state’s much older craft beer industry: With some 150 breweries, it had a recent “economic impact” of $1.2 billion per year, according to the Brewers Association.
But medical marijuana sales numbers seem likely to continue progressing upward as approved Missouri marijuana patients — now numbering roughly 140,000 — have access to cannabis products at roughly 140 dispensaries, with a spate of retail openings making headlines recently.
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Terrabis opens at 850 E. Kearney St.
The latest dispensary to begin operating in Springfield is Terrabis, located in a building on Kearney Street once occupied by a Jiffy Lube, according to county assessor records.
It’s the ninth licensed medical marijuana dispensary in town, according to a review of past News-Leader cannabis coverage.
The general manager at Terrabis, JT Kendall, told the News-Leader Monday morning that he thinks the state’s marijuana sales numbers will keep going up.
Kendall, who recently worked as manager of a local medical marijuana ID card clinic, noted two factors that he thinks will influence sales trajectories: Bigger, more diverse product selections are now available, compared to the industry’s early days late last year; and there’s been continued growth in the number of Missourians signing up for the patient ID cards that allow access to legal dispensaries.
For Terrabis, their weekend soft opening on Kearney Street “was a bit of a whirlwind,” Kendall told the News-Leader. A steady stream of patients visited Terrabis from nearby neighborhoods and from as far away as Nixa, he said.
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“We had a really great response from the community for a soft opening that we didn’t publicize,” Kendall said.
Kendall said the company deliberately kept quiet on the marketing side of things as it eased into its Springfield-based operations. They’re planning a grand opening with live music and a food truck for later this fall, he said.
Terrabis is associated with a Chicago-based firm, according to state licensing records, and describes itself as a privately-held, multi-state company. In Missouri, Kendall said it already has three locations in suburban St. Louis and one planned for the Kansas City area, to open later this fall.
There are two aspects that set Terrabis apart from its local competitors, Kendall said. First, the staff all went through heavy training before starting on the job. Second, Terrabis is one of just a few Springfield-area dispensaries with an operating drive-thru window. Patients place their orders online, verify their medical marijuana ID card when they arrive at the drive-thru and make payment at the drive-thru, he said.
In a news release, the company CEO, Dan Ambrosino, touted an “unwavering commitment” to Springfield marijuana patients and said that putting “a premium” on patient care is why the company added a drive-thru, especially in terms of respecting people’s boundaries in times of COVID-19.
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The company’s store development manager, Michele Martise, told the News-Leader on Monday that staff training and “patient experience” focus pays off.
“I did some mystery shopping at a few other dispensaries and realized that being treated like I am special, and that my needs are important — this is really a game-changer,” Martise said in an email.
She noted that the Terrabis location on Kearney Street “is on the smaller side” as facilities go, yet it includes a private consultation space “for any patient who wants some privacy to discuss anything.”
The company maintains a website at terrabis.co.
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