© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Kansas City Area’s First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Sells Out Two Days After Opening

Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3
Beth Bell, the manager of Fresh Green, displays the contents of a child-proof-jar the medical marijuana dispensary sells that contains the flower of the marijuana plant.

Lines were long when the Kansas City area's first medical marijuana dispensary opened to hundreds of customers this week. Ultimately, Missouri will have 192 shops.

Nearly two years after voters made it legal, the first medical marijuana dispensary in the Kansas City area opened this week. After just two days, it was already sold out.

The Fresh Green dispensary in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, opened to a line out the door and a nearly three-hour long wait for customers.

“It was a pretty crazy opening day. I expected to have lines, but not quite to the level that we had. At one point, we had over 200 people in line. Which was amazing to me, since it's medical at this point,” said Rob Sullivan, the store’s co-owner and president.

Sullivan said the lines continued through Tuesday, when the store managed to serve nearly 500 patients before selling out at the end of the day.

Despite knowing they’d be quick to sell out, Sullivan says he had no plans to delay their opening day for the many customers that had been waiting for so long for a dispensary to open.

“It is very epic for Missouri to have a clinic finally opening and I've waited lots of years to see it happen,” said Marlys Dick, who drove an hour from Tightwad, Missouri, to get in line on Monday.

The dispensary plans to receive another delivery of products next week and what Sullivan said is a larger restock in the beginning of November.He now hopes he won’t have to tell any customers they’re sold out again, Sullivan said, especially those who are coming in with serious medical conditions.

“The overwhelming number of people that came in had actually quite serious conditions, whether it be cancer, back surgeries, migraines, all manner of disability, and quite a lot of veterans,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan said many people got their medical marijuana license as a substitute for opioids and other pain medicines.

This was the case for Anaka Froelich from Raymore, Missouri. She said she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 10 years ago and recently began treatment for cancer.

“It makes a heck of a lot of difference for people like me that are going through a lot medically. It's one of the only ways I can feel normal these days between chemo and opiates that they're trying to give me,” said Froelich.

Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3
The ATM inside Fresh Green has stayed busy since the store opened Monday in Lee's Summit. They sold out of all their inventory within days of the opening of the first medical marijuana dispensary in the Kansas City area.

Along with running out of stock, the store faced another hurdle when the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday they were investigating a complaint of marijuana containing mold that was sold in the St. Louis area.

Sullivan says the strain of marijuana in question was never sold at Green Fresh. State officials have since concluded their investigation, having found “no evidence that the product batch presents a health or safety concern.”

The next coming months of business should run smoothly, Sullivan said and he is anticipating lines to go down when more dispensaries open.

The DHSS said in a release this week that it expects most of the 192 dispensaries awarded licenses in the state to be open by the end of the year.

“A tremendous amount of work has occurred by the licensed facilities and our team to get us to this point, and we continue to hear from more facilities that they are ready or almost ready for their commencement inspection,” said Lyndall Fraker, director of the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation.

Dispensaries have until one year after their licensing date to begin operations, Sullivan said, which for most businesses would be Jan. 23. He expects the majority of locations to open closer to that date.

“It's going to be crowded for us and, unfortunately, lines for patients probably through the end of the year,” Sullivan said.

Until that date approaches, Sullivan said he is prepared to be the sole dispensary in the area and he even has plans to open a second location in the Waldo area by the end of the year.

More than ever, education lies at the intersection of equity, housing, funding, and other diverse issues facing Kansas City’s students, families and teachers. As KCUR’s education reporter, I’ll break down the policies driving these issues in schools and report what’s happening in our region's classrooms. You can reach me at jodifortino@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.