(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Five months ago, Vertical Enterprise received the 'purple light' from the state to begin rolling on production of medical cannabis. Now, St. Joseph's first and only manufacturing and cultivation facility is blooming with flowers.
Inside one of two 'bloom rooms' at Vertical's growing facility sits 2,000 plants about to be harvested in the coming weeks.
CEO, Chris McHugh, said looking back at his decision to plant his company in St. Joseph, he couldn't be happier.
"I feel like a genius picking St. Joe. Community support, local government support is critical and we've always had that. I think it's an underserved community. There's only two dispensaries in town," said McHugh, "I never regretted it."
Missouri legalized medical marijuana in 2018 and began selling the product statewide in October of 2020.
Now, nearly one year into Missouri allowing sales of medical cannabis, sales are off the charts.
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reports August saw its single highest month of sales at $21.73 million which beat July's previous record of $21.03. Since last October, Missourians have spent $113.09 million on the product.
The growth in sales is no surprise to local shops that are helping patients receive their medical marijuana licenses.
"Oh in the last year, I'd say we've had 200 people come through our door to get the license," said Randy Jones, Co-owner of Sacred Leaf Zero.
Sacred Leaf Zero is a CBD shop on the North Belt Hwy in St. Joseph. The company partners with Elevate Holistics to help their patients virtually speak with a doctor and receive their medical cannabis card.
Jones said they've stayed busy this year, but he expects higher turnout in the future.
"With the amount of people getting turned away by doctors, (patients) no longer eligible for their perscription or doctors no longer willing to prescribe with the opioid epidemic in America, I'm surprised more people aren't using marijuana for ailments," said Jones.
Since June 2019, MDHSS reports over 177,000 Missourians have applied for a medical marijuana license statewide.
To receive help from Sacred Leaf Zero on acquiring a medical card for cannabis, patients are welcome to stop by Monday-Saturday. Hours are 10 a.m.-7p.m. Monday-Friday and 10a.m.-6p.m. on Saturday.