Missouri and Illinois Marijuana Coverage | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri and Illinois Marijuana Coverage

2020 has been a year of new marijuana laws. Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana on Jan. 1, six years after Colorado first started recreational sales. Missouri begins medical marijuana sales later in the year — likely this summer — and thousands of residents have already received certification cards.

Below, find all of St. Louis Public Radio's coverage on cannabis in Missouri and Illiniois, including our St. Louis Guide to Legal Marijuana.

Cannabis flower grows at a recreational grow facility in Illinois. Sales of recreational marijuana started Illinois Jan 1.
File Photo | Eric Schmid | St. Louis Public Radio

Municipalities in Illinois that have cannabis dispensaries will start seeing more money from recreational marijuana purchases. 

Cities, counties and villages that passed an individual 3% cannabis tax could start collecting it as of July 1. In the Metro East, that means more revenue for St. Clair County, Collinsville and Sauget, areas that passed a tax levy and where the region’s two current dispensaries operate.

Cannabis plants grow inside Ascend Illinois indoor facility in Barry, IL. Ascend owns two existing medical dispensaries and plans to open two additional recreational dispensaries early next year.
File Photo | Eric Schmid | St Louis Public Radio

Collinsville’s marijuana dispensary is offering the city some insulation from economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. 

The city can depend on the sales tax revenue it collects from Illinois Supply and Provisions since cannabis sales in Illinois are not slowing down even during the coronavirus pandemic. The city currently collects a 2.25% sales tax on recreational marijuana sales, and that will jump to 5.25% on July 1.

Illinois Supply and Provisions in Collinsville sold $5 million of recreational marijuana in January. The dispensary accounted for 13.6% of sales in Illinois.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Businesses across the country are losing sales because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Illinois recreational marijuana dispensaries are not. 

The state on Monday announced consumers bought more than $37 million of recreational cannabis in April.

Cannabis plants grow under orange sodium lights in a medical marijuana cultivation facility in Oakland, California.
Rusty Blazenhoff | Flickr

The campaign to put recreational marijuana on the 2020 Missouri ballot is over. Organizers with Missourians for a New Approach said COVID-19 is to blame.

Stay-at-home orders prevented the grassroots effort from gathering the petition signatures it needed for a statewide vote in November. The proposed amendment would have legalized adult-use recreational marijuana and expunged low-level marijuana convictions. 

A worker trims marijuana plants in Ascend Illinois' growing facility in Barry, IL.
Eric Schmid | St. Louis Public Radio

BELLEVILLE — Illinois’ new recreational marijuana market is off to a hot start even amid the spread of coronavirus. Earlier this week, the state announced nearly $36 million worth of legal cannabis was sold in March — on par with numbers from February.

As medical marijuana sales start in Missouri in 2020, local companies see potential new clients in the companies that are recieving the medical program's first licenses.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

BELLEVILLE — Thousands of retail stores and other businesses have shuttered across Illinois under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” order, which was issued on Friday. But there is one notable exception: Marijuana dispensaries are open to both medical and recreational customers.

Medical cannabis facilities are classified as essential health care and public health operations under Pritzker’s order. While other businesses have seen steep drops in customers, sales at cannabis dispensaries remain solid.  

Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

About a dozen people gathered around a table in a St. Louis conference room Saturday morning, pulling out notebooks and settling in for a four-hour crash course on growing medical marijuana. 

Instructor Zachery Post gave a PowerPoint presentation in the Cortex Innovation District. He explained basic cannabis terminology and how things like temperature and lighting have different effects on the plant.

Many farmers are wrapping up a frustrating first year of growing hemp, which was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill.

“It’s kind of a good way to start, in that that’s about as bad as it can get,” said Jeff Cox, Bureau Chief of Medicinal Plants at the Illinois Department of Agriculture. “There’s a lack of expertise, just a general lack of knowledge as to how to grow hemp the best way."

Illinois Supply and Provisions in Collinsville sold $5 million of recreational marijuana in January. The dispensary accounted for 13.6% of sales in Illinois.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS — The city council on Tuesday voted 8-3 to approve zoning regulations for marijuana businesses that want to come to the community.

This is the third, and final, piece of legislation the city had to pass before a dispensary would be able to open in the city. The council previously passed ordinances that allowed marijuana sales and restricted the number to just one single dispensary

Short Lines, Quick Service On First Day Of Recreational Marijuana Sales In Sauget

Mar 2, 2020
On March 2, the Green Solution in Sauget became the second dispensary to sell recreational marijuana in the Metro East since Illinois legalized sales on New Year's Day.
Derik Holtmann | Belleville News-Democrat

Updated at 11:30 a.m., March 3, with comments from Erich Mauff, president of Jushi Holdings Inc., which now owns the dispensary in Sauget.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.

SAUGET — The Green Solution dispensary in Sauget started selling adult-use cannabis on Monday morning. The dispensary is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and accepts cash only.

The dispensary, located at 2021 Goose Lake Road, is the second to begin adult-use sales to the Metro East since recreational marijuana became legal in Illinois on Jan. 1. 

Brennan England is the owner of Missouri's first cannabis consumption lounge on Cherokee Street, a strip he says is at the center of a budding industry.
Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Cherokee Street — known for its quirky, homegrown businesses — could soon be known as the “Green Light District.” At least that’s what Brennan England hopes. 

The longtime activist for marijuana legalization in Missouri coined the term to brand the south city street and the surrounding neighborhoods as St. Louis’ center for cannabis culture.

Illinois Supply and Provisions in Collinsville sold $5 million of recreational marijuana in January. The dispensary accounted for 13.6% of sales in Illinois.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:10 p.m., Feb. 12, with comments from Collinsville's mayor

COLLINSVILLE — Illinois Supply and Provisions recorded $5 million in sales of recreational marijuana in the first month of the year, city officials announced Tuesday. 

The preliminary figures come after a strong month of sales across the whole state. Illinois sold nearly $40 million of legal marijuana in January alone. 

Orthopedic specialist Dr. Patricia Hurford was originally skeptical of cannabis' medical benefits. After she saw how it changed her patients' quality of life, she began to change her mind.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

At the Green Health Docs medical marijuana certification clinic in Florissant, the walls are painted bright green, and a television show called “Munchies” plays on a loop in the waiting room. 

Marijuana is new for 68-year-old Brenda Lane, who is trying to balance on a dorm room-style saucer chair while she fills out medical forms. Lane, of St. Peters, has a packet of papers in her hand outlining many ailments, including rheumatoid arthritis, glaucoma and kidney failure. She’s in constant pain.

“That’s how I tell I’m alive,” she said. “I wake up, I’m in pain. Yep! I’m alive.”

Hundreds of people line up outside of Illinois Supply and Provisions in Collinsville on January 1, 2020 to legally buy recreational marijuana for the first time in Illinois.
Derik Holtmann | Belleville News-Democrat

COLLINSVILLE — The first month of recreational marijuana sales at Illinois Supply and Provisions brought hordes of people and their vehicles to a store that didn’t have enough parking for them. 

The dispensary reserved its 45-space parking lot for medical patients and handicapped recreational customers. A maze of metal barriers occupied the spaces directly in front of the store to contain crowds of people wanting to buy recreational cannabis. 

Members of the Board of Freeholders listen to concerns from St. Louis aldermen during the board's first meeting earlier this year.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum take stock of the events that made headlines this week.

At the top of the list is the release of state Auditor Nicole Galloway’s audit of Josh Hawley’s tenure as attorney general — which had made waves in Jefferson City several weeks before it was publicly released.