I was recently invited to tour one of the two facilities in Missouri that are licensed to grow, produce, and sell CBD oil, also known as hemp oil. I was invited to tour the facility by the CEO and my goal was to obtain empirical research regarding legal cannabis in Missouri. I write today to share my observations with you.
Lets get this out now: It is currently legal to grow and sell cannabis in Missouri for “medical” purposes! In 2014 the legislature passed HB2238 that allowed CBD oil to be sold in Missouri. This bill was signed into law by Governor Nixon during the summer of 2014. Two organizations were awarded the license to grow and sell CBD oil for medical purposes. The BeLeaf facility I visited followed the timeline below:
Application – November, 2014
Awarded license – February, 2015
Functioning – January, 2016
Sales began – May, 2016
Before the tour, I was given the opportunity to talk to the CEO and some parents of patients who use CBD oil to treat seizure disorders. The CEO firmly stated that she does not support full legalization of marijuana. However, she did advocate for a “responsible medical” bill. The parents held differing opinions. They suggested that it should be expanded to include more conditions, allow for smoking the product, and allow for more THC content (the psychoactive component of marijuana). The staff at BeLeaf and parents of patients spent time explaining the benefits of the product. The parents were very passionate that the CBD oil reduced the number of seizures for those with “intractable” epilepsy.
After our discussion, I toured the facility. The facility included:
The location was very secure, clean, and had three people working at the time of my visit. The CEO, a chemist, and social worker.The plant was processed through the various stages over about 3 months. Once the process was complete, the oil was placed in bottles, refrigerated, and stored in a locked room. The process appeared very scientific. The final product is required to meet specifications regarding CBD and THC content, according to Mitch Meyers, CEO.
Challenges noted by the CEO included:
Doctors cannot prescribe
Most doctors in Missouri will not recommend
Insurance will not cover
Not enough patients in Missouri
Product is taxed in Missouri
I still have one looming question. If this version of “medical” marijuana is already legal in Missouri why are people being asked to sign petitions to further legalize marijuana? Tomorrow we will have a panel to discuss this issue further at the Missouri River Regional Library. Beginning at 7pm we'll ask the experts to talk about the unintended consequences of legalizing marijuana. I hope you'll consider coming to hear what they have to say. For more information about the event, click here.