Missouri cannabis officials have seen an overwhelming response from medical marijuana business applicants seeking to obtain a license from the state. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, 2,200 people have applied for a license paying thousands of dollars in application fees for the opportunity to enter the legal marketplace.
Last week, the department made public a list of all the applications for medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation, testing and manufacturing facilities submitted during the initial application period. Missouri cannabis regulators plan to approve a maximum of 192 licenses for dispensaries, 86 for manufacturers and 60 for cultivator. These licenses will be evenly distributed across eight state congressional districts.
To be considered medical marijuana dispensaries and manufacturers must pay a $6,000 application fee and cultivators are required to submit a $10,000 Application fee. The Missouri Health Department will need to review and either approve or deny applications within 150 days of submission.
There are some local cities in Missouri that will mandate that any medical marijuana business to obtain a state license also apply for a local license. Any dispensary located in Columbia will also be subject to an additional $2,000 application fee before they can open their doors to qualifying medical marijuana patients.
Even though there are over 50 medical marijuana business applications from the city of Columbia the local city council passed an ordinance limiting the number of dispensaries to seven. Medical marijuana business owners will have 21 days to apply for a local license after obtaining their state business license. The Columbia city council must review all applications within 60 days of submission and make a determination on licensing.
Cannabis entrepreneur, Aaron Stone has already applied for a license to open his medical marijuana dispensary, Canna Lux, in Boone. Even though he was required to pay $28,000 in application fees, overall he was satisfied with the application process. He noted that, “DHSS did a great job in rolling out a blind scoring system and providing top-notch support.”
Stone isn’t the only one who believes the licensing process has been fairly smooth. Kathy Hartwell, partial owner of Western Edge, explained that she “felt like the questions were good for vetting candidates and also making them realize the work that they would have to put in to be successful.” Western Edge has applied for a medical marijuana business license in a few districts hoping to get better odds on obtaining a license.
According to the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, as of last week the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services had reported approved 9,806 medical marijuana patient applications and 220 caregiver applications.
Executive director of the association, Andrew Mullins pointed out that, “Much as we’d like to say this comes as a surprise, the new data is consistent with both our early projections and the intense interest we see and hear among Missourians each day.” Hopefully local jurisdictions will not impede on patient access as it’s clear that the demand for medical marijuana dispensaries continues to grow.