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Dr. Lisa Roark, owner of Cassville Dispensary, talks about a “dry run” period of time when the dispensary was open and selling federally legal hemp before commercially grown medical marijuana was available in Missouri. The dispensary opened Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. Medical marijuana is expected to be available in October. (Photo: Gregory Holman/Springfield News-Leader)
Cassville Dispensary is on a dry run right now.
Five days after Dr. Lisa Roark opened her rural dispensary’s door, she used that saying to describe what it’s like in the early days of the marijuana industry in Barry County. Roark’s business is technically open, but in its first week, Cassville Dispensary couldn’t sell any medical marijuana. None was available.
Instead, as Roark opened on Sept. 28, Cassville Dispensary began selling products like hemp flower (which looks like marijuana but acts like CBD) and gear like herb vaporizers, storage containers and grinders. Revenues from the sale of CBD products are “not even close to supporting” the costs of a fully compliant cannabis dispensary, she said. But she had a reason for flipping on the open sign at her business.
“We want to make sure everything is functional before day one,” Roark said. “If we already have everyone on payroll, because we’re training them, we want (patients) to be able to come in and try it out.”
Right now, Roark and others say, a handful of Missouri’s commercial marijuana grow operations have been up and running long enough for the plant to be harvested and trimmed for sale. There’s now an active testing lab and transportation licenses. But there’s still a little way to go — maybe less than a week, maybe more — before the first testing batches are completed and patients with marijuana cards can finally buy cannabis