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Legal recreational pot sales begin for Missouri adults

Recreational marijuana sales in Missouri officially began Friday after the state health department unexpectedly began issuing dispensary permits early.

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since a ballot measure passed in 2018, but voters went a step further this November by approving a constitutional amendment legalizing the drug for anyone 21 or older. The new law makes Missouri the 21st state to allow recreational use.

Under the amendment, non-medicinal pot use became legal in the state in December. But sales were stalled because the health department had until Friday to issue business licenses.

If the agency does not approve or deny licenses by Friday, dispensaries that previously only sold medical marijuana will automatically be permitted to sell recreational pot as well.

Department of Health and Senior Services spokeswoman Lisa Cox on Thursday said the agency would begin approving licenses Friday. She said almost all of the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries applied to sell recreational pot.

The amendment also calls for the expungement of records of past arrests and convictions for nonviolent marijuana offenses, except for selling to minors or driving under the influence.