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Recreational marijuana sales begin in Columbia


Dispensaries in Columbia can officially sell marijuana to anyone 21 years old or older as of Tuesday morning.

According to a representative from the state, all six dispensaries in Columbia received their comprehensive licenses, allowing them to sell recreationally.

An ABC 17 crew visited two dispensaries and overheard and observed people on a spectrum of age and experience with marijuana coming out to shop.

"We're very happy with the turn out," Kyle Teevens, an employee at Columbia dispensary High Profile, said. "We staffed up and we're very well prepared for it. We've been consistent all day with people coming through."

According to Teevens, even before the comprehensive licenses were issued, this past weekend many people were coming to the dispensary asking if marijuana sales had been granted for recreational use in Columbia yet.

Unlike selling regular retail items like clothes or candy, all products containing cannabis are traced from the moment a seed is planted, to the sale of the item. This could be referred to as the concept "from seed to sale." The state Department of Health and Senior Services is responsible for tracking the cannabis products.

The system used to track products is called Metric, and is statewide.

"Every sale runs through metric, every plant runs through metric," Erik Hackett, the chief operating officer for Green Releaf dispensaries, said.

When entering a dispensary, your ID will be scanned. This isn't to keep record of those who have purchased weed, rather it is meant to verify age.

"The reason we scan ID's is it's actually a state requirement," Hackett said. "It's part of the laws we have to have a third party that verifies them."

According to Hackett, this takes away any liability if someone poses with a fake ID to try and gain access to the dispensary.

Brian Leer, a captain with the Boone County Sheriff's Office, told ABC 17 that law enforcement is still evolving and learning about the laws.

"There still is the federal laws right," Leer said. "You can't be a known drug user and possess a firearm under the federal law. Just because you can posses and/or use marijuana, doesn't mean that you can do so in all settings." 

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Ethan Heinz


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