Branson assistant police chief warns of negative impacts of medical marijuana, others embrace coming change
With the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries in Missouri still about a year away, the assistant police chief in Branson is preparing area cities for what, he says, could be negative effects of the change.
However, others say it's a change that will help patients suffering from pain.
Branson locals Monty Sowersby and Jarrod Smiley currently distribute CBD products through Ozarks Quality Products for Infused Edibles.
"Great growth in our industry especially in the last year," Sowersby said.
They distribute the CBD products now nationwide, but in the next year or so, they plan to get into medical marijuana sales.
"Ozarks Quality Products will be distributing the gummies, the TCH products here in Missouri," Smiley said.
It's growth that, they say, is a good for people in pain.
"We want patients to get the best product available to them," Sowersby said.
However, as change is coming, Branson's Assistant Police Chief has a warning.
"About 54 percent were growing their own," Eric Schmitt said.
As a former Colorado officer, he's been giving a presentation to area cities.
"There's this misnomer that it's safer. There's this misnomer that it is going to get rid of the black market explode in Colorado," Schmitt said.
He says legalizing medical marijuana also made it easier to get cannabis into the hands teenagers.
"We did not have a sinlge bit of marijuana in our schools that wasn't medicinal," Schmitt said.
John Payne with New Approach Missouri agrees the lack of regulation in Colorado led to problems, but he says Missouri will be different.
"We've learned from what other states have done," Payne said.
He says each medical marijuana user will have a card that's scanned at dispensaries, notifying sellers if someone is trying to get more marijuana than they should.
"That will be implemented from the start here in Missouri," Payne said.
Payne claims really it'll help people get relief.
"Now they're finally going to be able to get something that works for them," Payne said.
However Schmitt warns that more marijuana use could be more dangerous.
"The THC content is through the roof compared to the old marijuana," Schmitt said. "The claims that it's safer to drive while using it than alcohol are completely false."