Fierce competition for missouri medical marijuana licenses

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Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services has received thousands of applications for medical marijuana cultivation, dispensary, manufacturing and testing laboratory licenses.

DHSS reports 2,163 online applications had been received by 4:30 p.m. Monday. It was a big jump on the figures we reported in July, when the tally stood at under 500 by early in the month. 800 applications were received in the final 24 hours of the application period.

While a breakdown of applications wasn’t available at the time of publishing, there will be a lot of disappointment when this process is complete. A total of 348 licences will be granted by DHSS: 60 for cultivation facilities, 192 for dispensaries, 86 for medical marijuana-infused manufacturing facilities and 10 for testing laboratory facilities.

The number of licences has previously been called into question, with an economic analysis suggesting the level may be too high given projected demand.

DHSS is pleased with its progress to this stage.

“I am extremely proud of the team we have built who have been responsible for getting us through this pivotal point for implementing a medical marijuana program for Missourians,” said Lyndall Fraker, director of DHSS Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation.

What Happens Now?

According to the department, a third-party “blind scorer” will begin reviewing the applications, which will be stripped of any identifying information, against Evaluation Criteria Scoring Questions.

That third-party has quite a job ahead of it as applications must be approved or denied by the department within 150 days of application date. That being the case, the latest the first approvals will be is December 29, 2019.

DHSS did have a map showing locations of proposed facilities, but that hasn’t been updated since June 20. However, the Department says information regarding facility type and proposed location associated with all applications will be made available in the coming weeks.

While setting the program up has no doubt been an expensive task, DHSS has received over $13 million in application fees. Looking ahead to when product will be available, taxes will be collected on medical marijuana sold and there will also be license fees generating revenue. This cash will be used to cover the program’s operating expenses and any surplus funds are to benefit the new Missouri Veterans’ Health and Care Fund.

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