There’s a heated debate happening at the Missouri Capitol about whether hemp-derived cannabis products should be sold in places like gas stations statewide. On one side, you have convenience stores pushing for this change, and on the other, representatives of Missouri’s legal marijuana industry are raising concerns.
Here’s the deal: Missouri already has over 200 licensed dispensaries for traditional cannabis products, but now there’s a new market for hemp-derived “delta-8” cannabis products. These products are sold at gas stations and similar spots, but they’re not regulated like the ones in dispensaries. There are no official age restrictions or special taxes on them either.
Ronald Leone, who heads the Missouri Petroleum and Convenience Association, thinks there should be some rules in place. He wants sales restricted to those 21 and older, along with testing and reasonable taxes. But he’s against a new bill that would put these products under the control of licensed dispensaries only. He says it gives too much power to the marijuana industry and messes with the free market.
On the other side, there are worries about safety. Justin Alferman, who works with SSM Health Care, pointed out that these products aren’t regulated, so we can’t be sure what’s in them. The state’s poison control center is concerned about how accessible and safe they are.
Representative Chad Perkins is pushing the bill to regulate these products under the Department of Health and Senior Services. But not everyone is sold on the idea. Some lawmakers are worried about protecting the hemp industry and ensuring clear rules.
The big concern here is making sure these products don’t end up in the wrong hands, especially young people. Representative Brad Banderman pointed out that we don’t want kids buying things that could harm them. So, the question remains: How can Missouri strike a balance between access and safety when it comes to these cannabis products? That’s what lawmakers are trying to figure out.