Officials in Missouri will have to scrutinize more than 2,000 applications for medical marijuana licenses after a late flurry arrived before Monday’s deadline.
The state’s Department of Health and Senior Services granted hopeful applicants a short extension and it received 800 submissions in the final 24 hours. That pushed the total to around 2,100 and the DHSS now has 150 days whether to approve or deny each application.
In total, it will dish out 60 cultivation facilities, 192 dispensaries, 86 medical marijuana-infused manufacturing facilities and 10 testing laboratory facilities.
DHSS director Dr. Randall Williams said it greatly appreciates the feedback it has received from “so many Missourians” on the process. “While our main goals have always been putting patients first and maintaining integrity of the program, we also think this exemplifies good governance in implementing a complex initiative passed by the overwhelming majority of Missouri voters,” he said.
A third party will now begin scoring each application in a blind process in which each company’s name and identifying information has been removed from the submission. Applicants will discover whether or not they have been successful by January 2020.
DHSS will publish a map of facility and dispensary applications in the coming weeks. It said it has already approved 6,500 qualified patient and caregiver applications ahead of schedule.
Missouri legalized medicinal marijuana in November 2018 after a ballot gained 66% approval from voters. The measure allows qualifying patients to grow up to six cannabis plants and purchase at least four ounces of cannabis flower per month.
Qualifying conditions include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, migraines, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, terminal illnesses, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, autism, neuropathies, sickle cell anemia, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, and wasting syndrome.
Recreational cannabis use remains illegal in Missouri, although it has been partially decriminalized under SB 491. Recreational marijuana will soon be legal across the Mississippi River in Illinois, and Missouri may follow suit in order to prevent its residents crossing state lines to spend their hard-earned cash.