JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has completed its review of medical marijuana facility applications. The agency approved applications from sixty cultivation facilities, twenty-one transportation facilities, and ten laboratory testing facilities, while denying multiple applications in each area. Applicants were scored through a blind process. Officials said those who scored highest on all eligibility criteria were awarded licenses.
“Throughout this entire process, it has been important to us to be fair and transparent as we implement all pieces of this program,” Lyndall Fraker, director of the DHSS Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation, said in a press release. “This is why we chose to employ a ‘blind’ application scorer who had no access to applicants’ identifying information.”
Andrew Mullins, executive director of MoCann, a Missouri-based cannabis trade organization, is pleased with how regulators have handled the application process.
“Our state is deservedly drawing national praise for the smooth, effective implementation of this new medical marijuana program ever since it was overwhelmingly approved by Missouri voters last November,” Mullins said according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Despite the blind application process, some are concerned about campaign donations directed toward Governor Mike Parson from a group seeking to open a cannabis grow facility.
One cultivation facility applicant, Dr. Paul Callicoat, a retired cardiologist, has been seeking to transition his Sarcoxie Nursey from a fine flower producer to a medicinal cannabis cultivator. His group was not among the approved licensees and has vowed to challenge Missouri regulators through a lawsuit.
“Our family remains steadfast in our commitment to bringing healing to patients by growing high-quality, safe, and effective medical marijuana on-site at Sarcoxie Nursery,” Callicoat said. “We worked diligently to put forth a well-thought-out and responsive proposal for a cultivation facility that will revive a historic landmark and deliver much-needed economic activity to the community. We will appeal this decision.”
Each cultivation facility license allows cultivators to grow up to 2,800 cannabis plants for either indoor or outdoor grows. License holders can operate out of the same facility and the plant limits will multiply with each license. For instance, a facility with two license holders working out of the same location could house up to 5,600 plants.
Last November, Missouri residents approved Amendment 2 which legalized the use of medicinal cannabis. The law allows qualified patients to grow up to 6 ounces of cannabis flower per month as well as purchase from state-approved dispensaries. The list of qualifying conditions for medicinal cannabis use is extensive but also states that patients with any terminal illness or any “chronic, debilitating or other medical condition” may be eligible.