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.