For people outside of the cannabis business community, some of the most underappreciated elements are the sheer audacity and fortitude needed to operate a cannabis company. In a few short years, MBA programs will study how cannabis entrepreneurs transitioned from a plethora of other industries to begin new careers in a business that remains illegal under federal law.
The challenges facing cannabis business owners vary from state to state and sometimes defy assumed political lines. Missouri, the “Show-Me State,” is a good example. In November 2018, Missouri voters passed Amendment 2 by a 65.5 percent approval rate. The law provided the foundation for Missouri’s medical cannabis program and is regulated by the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services. Sales are taxed at 4 percent and the tax revenue supports a wide range of services for U.S. veterans. You can read more about Missouri’s cannabis laws here.
The View from the Ground Up
To learn more about how the perception of cannabis is changing in this politically conservative state, we contacted BLAZE Cultivation customers Erin and Greg Moore and Hayley Rosenblum Dudney, the founders of Archimedes Medical Holdings, LLC. The cultivation company is seeking two licenses for separate grow facilities. They recently received the go-ahead to begin cultivation at one facility as state regulators approved the official “commencement inspection.” The company is currently just one of two outdoor grows licensed in the state, and is one of the few women-owned cannabis businesses in Missouri. Archimedes purchased a former commercial greenhouse in Perryville, MO, and true to their sense of community, they tried to keep as many of the original greenhouse employees as possible.
Small Talk Leads to Big Changes
Hayley, an attorney, had the unfortunate experience of breaking her back and dealing with her painful recovery. While at the gym one day, Hayley overheard Erin talking about cannabis. Intrigued, Hayley became passionate about the benefits of medicinal cannabis. As fate would have it, Greg was the gym’s manager and Hayley reached out to Erin and Greg to explore a potential business relationship. “We all have different backgrounds, and putting all three of them together is very important,” Hayley explained. This is especially true when running a business, and Greg’s operational and managerial experience plays a huge role in getting Archimedes up and running. As the Director of Inventory Control, Greg said that his job “is to be the boots on the ground.” When it comes to cultivation operations, our guess is that Greg is no stranger to getting his hands dirty as well.
Erin is a pharmacist by training and is passionate about how drugs work in the body. She grew tired of working in the corporate world, so she, husband Greg, and Hayley set out on a new cannabis journey together, which hopefully includes opening a dispensary down the road. Without a doubt, Erin’s pharmacy education gave them an advantage during the licensing process. “The application has questions that are geared toward medicinal use and we could approach it from that perspective. Hearing from a healthcare perspective was important” Erin said.
We were curious about the cannabis community’s relationship with government officials and regulators. Hayley told us that “Our experience with the state has been positive and they want the program to succeed. From the beginning, government officials pressed to have open communications because they want this to work as much as we do. The state supports the health benefits of cannabis and does not consider it to be a vice.”
Erin was involved with Missourians for a New Approach a 2020 voter initiative to legalize adult-use sales in Missouri. She volunteered to obtain voter signatures to qualify the measure for the November election. While COVID-19 suspended the signature collection process, she strongly believes that the adult-use initiative will pass in 2021. Erin explained that “It’s the same group of people that were behind Amendment 2 and support crosses political lines. It’s a bipartisan effort.”
We are so pleased to welcome Erin, Greg, Hayley, and the entire Archimedes team to the BLAZE community. We wish them the best of luck and we know we’ll see much success from them in the Show-Me State.