After a year that was rife with uncertainty and some challenges, the cannabis industry was treated to good news as the election results from the 2022 midterms rolled in. Chief among the victories for cannabis reform advocates was the passage of adult-use legalization in the state of Missouri. On November 8, 2022, Missouri voters approved the passage of Amendment 3, which legalized possession and use of cannabis by those 21 and over and allowed for the creation of a commercial adult-use market. While the upcoming launch of adult-use sales in Missouri may be overshadowed by bigger market launches such as New York, this Midwestern cannabis market has significant of potential for growth with the addition of adult-use sales.
Checking in: Missouri Cannabis Market Performance
Missouri has seen a robust cannabis market spring up since the launch of medical sales in October 2020. Legal medical sales totaled $210 million in 2021, the first full year of sales, and grew to $386 million in 2022. Missouri has broad retail availability with the state reporting that the medical program had ~3.5 retailers per capita, much higher than that of other recently launched adult-use markets, such as New Jersey which had <1 retailer per capita as of its launch of adult-use in April 2022.
Like most cannabis markets, Missouri experienced significant price compression throughout 2022. Between January 2022 and January 2023, equivalent average retail prices fell -39% in the Missouri market, higher than the price compression seen even in some more mature markets. Despite the declines in ARP, monthly dollar sales in the Missouri market continued to grow, with medical market sales reaching an all-time high of $40 million in December 2022. Legal sales grew rapidly with the addition of adult-use, with BDSA Retail Sales Tracking data showing that monthly sales totaled $126 million in March 2023, the first full month of adult-use sales.
Missouri Brand and Product Landscape
Thanks to its business-friendly regulators and less restrictive licensing, Missouri has seen a thriving brand landscape develop, with BDSA Retail Sales Tracking data showing 211 brands in market as of April 2023. While MSO interest in the Missouri market is high, a thriving number of home-grown brands have risen to the top in the roughly two years that the state has had an operating cannabis market. In April 2023, eight of the top ten brands in the Missouri market were independent local brands.
Similar to other medical markets like Pennsylvania and Maryland, flower held a dominant share of the dollar sales by product category in Missouri prior to adult-use sales. In January 2023, BDSA Retail Sales Tracking data show that flower made up 51% of dollar sales, with concentrates bringing in 25%, edibles making up 17% and pre-rolled products taking a 6% share. Like in many other markets, vape sales make up a dominant share of sales in the concentrate category, with vapes bringing in 71% of concentrate dollar sales for January 2023. While flower’s share of dollar sales declined slightly since the start of adult-use, it still held a 49% share of dollar sales in April 2023.
Where is The Missouri Market Heading
Compared to other markets that have either recently launched adult-use sales, or are on the verge of launching legal sales, Missouri may have a lower total addressable market due to a considerably smaller population and lower number of annual visitors than New Jersey and New York; however, Missouri holds several distinct advantages.
Missouri benefits from the foundation of a strong medical program, with a long list of qualifying conditions, broad retail availability, and competitive brand landscape made up of MSOs and local brands alike. Another factor expected to give the Missouri market a strong adult-use launch is its proximity to states with limited cannabis access. While Missouri does border the adult-use Illinois market, it is also bordered by seven other states with a 21+ population of over 19 million, suggesting that cross-border shoppers will give a strong boost to the initial years of legal sales.
The “Show Me” state launched adult-use sales in February 2023, giving the state the second-shortest timeline from legalization to launch of adult-use sales. Adult-use sales are expected to bring in $1.1 billion in 2023, bringing total sales for the year to $1.4 billion. BDSA forecasts total sales in Missouri to reach $1.5 billion in 2024, and grow to $1.8 billion by 2027.