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Missouri proposes rules allowing marijuana dispensaries to promote sales events

Missouri medical marijuana officials proposed new rules this week that would let licensed dispensaries hold promotional events and publicize price discounts. If they do so, state-licensed dispensaries would be required to include a disclaimer with any promotion that reads: “Medical decisions should not be made based on advertising. Consult a physician on the benefits and risks of particular medical marijuana products.” News of the proposal comes after marijuana industry advocates spoke out against a warning to dispensaries issued by the Department of Health and Senior Services last summer.

According to a July 9 email from regulators, reported at the time by industry publication Greenway, Missouri dispensaries “are not allowed to advertise price discounts on a particular product because that would result in disbursing medical marijuana as part of a promotional event.” The July email also said any holiday-themed pricing and promotions for medical marijuana products would be an absolute no-no. Price discounts were allowed anytime, but dispensaries weren’t allowed to hype them, in a program that’s supposed to be medical.

Industry advocates argued that cannabis regulators might be well-intentioned, but Missouri rules forbidding price discount promotion had several problems: They were vague; they would have a chilling effect on patient education; and they would make it harder for low-income cannabis patients — who may already have paid a total well over $100 in clinic and state license fees to obtain a patient ID card — to shop around for lawful medicinal treatments.

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