KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When they quit their jobs earlier this year to open Hemp Life Kansas City, co-owners Danielle Friedrich and Jay Humfeld heard a lot of criticism.
“We gave up our day jobs. We gave up everything,” Humfeld said. “We rolled the dice, and we were laughed at and criticized by a lot of people.”
With the passage of Amendment 2, legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri, Humfeld and Friedrich may have the last laugh.
“It’s a good feeling to know we made the right decision,” Humfeld said.
The hemp shop owners plan to apply to become one of the state’s approved medical marijuana dispensaries.
Licenses to dispense medical marijuana won’t be approved by the state until late next year, at the earliest. But if and when that happens for this local business, the co-owners hope to be on the ground floor of a booming industry in Missouri.
“Because in my lifetime, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Friedrich said. “Prohibition happened in the 1930s, so that’s the only economic boom we’ve ever had as big as medical marijuana.”
Amendment 2 allows for 24 medical marijuana dispensaries in all eight of Missouri’s congressional districts, which translates to a potential total of 192.
Humfeld said it will take a significant financial investment to become a state-approved dispensary.
“In order to have a good, successful dispensary and include the (marijuana) growing operations, it’s upwards of seven figures. It’s going be more than $1 million easy," he said.
Humfeld also points out his building will need beefed-up security and other amenities to legally dispense medical pot. It could be seen as a gamble, but they believe they could be in perfect position to beat the odds and then some.
“It’s exciting, and it’s all starting right now,” Friedrich said.