Missouri Cannabis Revenue Funds $15 Million to Three Primary Beneficiaries

This amount is split evenly to benefit military veterans, the state public defenders for low-income residents, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
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Since adult-use cannabis passed in Missouri in 2022, the state recently divided $15 million in adult-use sales revenue to fund support services for military veterans and substance abuse treatment programs, as well as the Missouri Public Defenders budget. That amount is projected to increase to $19 million by the time the fiscal year ends on July 1.

Division of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) director Amy Moore recently said that she was pleased with the fund accumulation so far. “It is so rewarding to see the impact of this voter-approved program on organizations that provide vital services to Missourians. We look forward to watching this impact grow and are grateful to be a part of it.” Moore said.

The collection of medical and adult-use cannabis revenue in Missouri differs slightly once operational costs have been paid. The constitutional amendment that legalized medical cannabis five years ago goes directly to the MVC, whereas adult-use cannabis revenue must first pay out any fees relating to cannabis offense expungement, and the leftover amounts are divided up among the three beneficiaries.

These three groups include the Missouri Veterans Commission (MVC), Missouri State Public Defender, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). The MVC is described as a health care and “other services” group that serves both veterans as well as their families, while the Public Defender is a legal option for low-income Missourians. The DHSS’s goal is “to operate a grant program for subrecipients to increase access to evidence-based, low-barrier drug addiction treatment prioritizing medically proven treatment and overdose prevention and reversal methods and public or private treatment options with an emphasis on reintegrating recipients into their local communities, to support overdose prevention education, and to support job placement, housing, and counseling for those with substance use disorders.” This includes maintenance of veterans’ homes and various cemeteries

The most recent transfer to these groups on May 17 included a total of $15,229,302 split three ways, with each beneficiary receiving $5,076,434.

In January 2024, Moore gave a presentation in front of the House Veterans Committee showing that the MVC will receive a total of $19 million from cannabis sales revenue by the time that the fiscal year ends on July 1. Furthermore, Moore estimated that next year that amount will increase to approximately $22 million. “The governor’s recommendation is quite a bit more than expected and that is tied to the unexpectedly robust sales, mostly on the adult-use side,” Moore said

At the time, Moore’s data showed that Missouri had collected $98,873,147 in medical cannabis revenue ($41,406,336 of which went to DCR operating expenses and $39,978,820 to veterans). The state had also collected a total of $57,743,824 in adult-use revenue so far (split between $8,152,210 for DCR operating expenses, in addition to the three sets of beneficiaries receiving $1,278,973).

The MVC has received a grand total of $39,978,820 in medical cannabis sales revenue funds since the transfer began in September 2020. During that first year, the MVC received $2,135,510, followed by $6,843,310 in September 2021, $5 million in May 2022, $13 million in September 2022, and finally $13 million in October 2023.

Rep. Dave Griffith, who is also the veterans chair committee, commented on the success of legalization so far. “The amount of sales that they’ve had with commercial marijuana has been just record-breaking and exceeded all expectations and projections,” Griffith said. “Because of that, there’s going to be even more money into that pool than what they projected right after [Amendment 3] passed.” Griffith also commented that his goal is to increase the amount of funds given to the MVC to $50 million annually, citing the need for more money to better serve veterans services. “Many of them, they’re so overburdened with their caseloads that it’s hard to get in with them,” said Griffith. “If we can increase the number we have, we can start trying to cut down on that wait time many veterans have.”

During the most recent round of funds transferred, Moore released a statement in October 2023 about the positive growth coming from the adult-use cannabis market. “It is incredible that Missouri voters passed the adult use amendment less than one year ago, and we are now starting to see the financial impact the program’s success will have on multiple organizations and the Missourians they serve,” Moore said.

At the time, MVC executive director Paul Kirchoff also provided a statement about the benefits of the program. “These funds will help MVC continue to support the existing infrastructure of our seven Veterans Homes,” said Kirchoff.

While legal cannabis continues to serve Missouri, the topic of psilocybin continues to evolve. In March, the Missouri House Veterans Committee recently passed a psilocybin legalization bill (Senate Bill 768) which if passed would allow veterans to use psilocybin therapy. 

In April, the Missouri House of Representatives approved a budget bill that sets aside $10 million in psilocybin research grants, which would come from the state opioid settlement funds. The research studies would study how psilocybin affects people with opioid abuse disorder.

Originally this also included the research of ibogaine for treating the disorder but was changed to focus on psilocybin instead. According to Rep. Cody Smith who introduced that budget bill, the switch from ibogaine to psilocybin was due to a discussion he had with the Department of Mental Health the week prior. “They had concerns about the ibogaine research they had read, and there are concerns about the dangers involved in that research,” said Smith. “However, they are interested in the psilocybin piece. And we’ve seen many other states use their opioid settlement funds to that end.”

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