by Rachael Herndon
29 Dec 2020
The Department of Health and Senior Services’ Section for Medical Marijuana is granting a blanket extension on the immaculate conception rule for licensed cultivators in Missouri, extending the date as one year from approval to operate.
“Immaculate conception” pertains to a startline imposed on licensed cultivation facilities for when they must only obtain and grow plants or seeds (genetics) legally grown by a licensed cultivation facility in Missouri.
Previously, per state program rules (19 CSR 30-95.040 (4) (D)), “all marijuana for medical use, including plants, flowers, and infused products, sold in Missouri shall be cultivated in a licensed cultivation facility located in Missouri. After December 31, 2020, marijuana for medical use shall be grown from seeds or plants obtained from a Missouri licensed cultivation or dispensary facility.”
Any cultivation facility the Department approved to operate, beginning on December 28, 2020, will also receive a variance from the December 31, 2020, deadline which states ‘marijuana for medical use shall be grown from seeds or plants obtained from a Missouri licensed cultivation or dispensary facility.’
“The variance approval will be included in the license’s Approval to Operate letter,” Andrea Balkenbush, director of compliance, emailed MoCannTrade on December 29. “The new date will be one year from the approval to operate date. Any cultivation facility that has already been approved to operate can fill out a variance form and submit to the Department requesting a date one year from their approval to operate date.”
Prior to this variance denoted in Balkenbush’s, email, licensed cultivators who were yet to be approved to operate expressed concerns about purchasing genetics.
“Knowing the deadline is fast approaching and there is a concern for both operating cultivators, just commenced cultivators and soon to be awarded cultivators we wanted to inquire if DHSS has made any determinations for a rule change or letter guidance to provide clarity on our expressed concern and possible solution,” MoCannTrade Executive Director Andrew Mullins emailed Balkenbush on December 28.
“I don’t think any of us could have anticipated the challenges of a pandemic and what effect it would have on the majority of the cultivators’ progress to get operational. Even still, the rule as it currently stands provides both an unfair advantage to those who have already sourced their genetics and a big disadvantage to cultivators needing to source genetics after Thursday the 31st by limiting them to only what’s already in state or available by current cultivators which are already in short supply. Having this rule take effect this week also creates a demand burden (imagine trying to supply a new cultivator with seeds or clones while trying to stand up your own) on the already stressed cultivators as well as a limitation on the variety and breadth of genetics available to cultivators later next year as they will need to source all genetics from within the state, reducing their genetic variety pool to only what already exists here currently.”
PHOTO-ANDREA BALKENBUSH AT THE MARCH 3, 2020 MANDATORY MEETINGS//CHRIS SMITH FOR GREENWAY