by Gregory J. Holman
30 Dec 2020
In Springfield, that means Old Route 66 Wellness will start carrying edibles on Thursday, co-owner John Lopez announced Tuesday night on YouTube.
Located at Glenstone Avenue and I-44, Old Route 66 is the city’s only dispensary approved to operate at this time, two years after Missouri’s constitutional amendment on medical marijuana went into effect.
Ebbs and flows in the supply of Missouri-grown cannabis mean that Old Route 66 is only open when supplies allow for sales, Lopez said on the video.
But the shop expects to be open New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to sell the first edible products. New selections of cannabis flower (e.g., smokable marijuana buds) are also expected to arrive later this week, Lopez said on the video, and they plan to offer new pre-rolls, or prepared marijuana cigarettes.
“We will just play day-by-day after that until we sell out, which could happen,” Lopez said Tuesday on YouTube. “We’re excited to open, we get to finally open again… This is not how we thought we would roll out when we first started, we thought we’d be open much earlier and with a more steady flow.”
When contacted by the News-Leader on Wednesday, Lopez said he didn’t have much to add to his comments in Tuesday night’s video.
What types of edibles will go on sale?
To date, Kansas City-based Clovr is the only Missouri-licensed manufacturer of cannabis products like edibles or vape cartridges that’s been approved to operate. Their facility — a $16 million, 48,000-square-foot plant, according to the Kansas City Star — just got its “commencement” paperwork early this month, director of marketing Bethanie White told the News-Leader.
White said that for Missouri’s first edible sales, Clovr is introducing two nationally-known brands of gummies, Wana and Robhots, in 100-milligram packets. Wana gummies are made with fruit-based pectin and are therefore vegan and gluten-free, while Robhots use a gelatin base, White said. Robhots tend to have more seasonal flavors and variety, while Wana usually offers one flavor of gummy per packet. State law requires them to be made in simple shapes like squares and rectangles to prevent them from having a perceived appeal for children.
They’re also introducing two beverages made under the Keef brand, a strawberry-kiwi “life water” and a “mocktail lemonade.”
Labelling requirements apply for all infused marijuana products. Last year, state lawmakers approved a measure requiring products carry a diamond-shaped “THC” stamp and the letter M to indicate the products are medicinal, a compromise hammered out in part by the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association.
Clovr’s suggested retail price for the 100-milligram gummy packs is $36 to $40 depending on the brand, White said, and the beverages are $36. Dispensaries may charge different prices, she said.
A News-Leader review of online menus at dispensaries in Arizona and Washington, states with older cannabis markets than Missouri’s, show that similar products are often much cheaper in mature markets. A 300-milligram packet of THC gummies, three times the content of similar Missouri products going on sale, was priced at $40 at Arizona Natural Selections in Scottsdale, for example.
“It’s really driven by the flower pricing,” White said by way of explaining Missouri’s early market high prices. Only about one-fifth of Missouri’s 60 licensed marijuana-cultivation centers are operating, so supply is low and costs are high “until the market matures.” Most people in the medical marijuana industry, including White, say they believe prices will moderate as Missouri’s medical marijuana system gets more cultivators and retail outlets. The same pricing trends have already taken place in other U.S. states that added some form of legal marijuana.
The gummies and the beverages both allow for 10-milligram dosages of THC, White said.
Dosing is important: Skepticism around edibles spiked six years ago after a New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, ate an entire candy bar she bought in Colorado instead of breaking up the bar into 16 pieces as recommended by dispensary staff. Dowd “curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours” in her hotel room, she wrote in a column that went viral.
Gil Mobley, a Springfield physician who does medical marijuana patient certifications, told the News-Leader Tuesday that even now, “edibles scare the hell out of me” despite their growing acceptance in U.S. society. While he conceded he’s “never” had a marijuana patient who suffered a Maureen Dowd-like episode or required some form of intensive medical care due to edibles, Mobley expressed skepticism about the state-mandated testing lab routines intended to verify the amounts of THC contained in commercially-sold medical marijuana products, or whether such products have contaminants like pesticides.
He urged patients, and even those who make their own edibles (e.g., “magic” brownies) using devices that allow home cooks to make cannabis-infused butter, to be “super-cautious” about how much they ingest.
White said that a testing lab in Missouri’s constitutionally-mandated system gave Clovr’s edibles the legal OK this week, the last barrier before Clovr could begin statewide distribution.