by Rachael Herndon
1 Dec 2020
Missouri officially has a handful of dispensaries open throughout the state, with 17 dispensaries approved to operate by the State. Many have not yet opened, awaiting more inventory from licensed cultivators and manufacturers.
Most operating dispensaries have had limited hours and temporary closures as they await more products for patients. This same trend was witnessed early in other state markets.
As of November 25, 2020, the State had approved 10 cultivation facilities to operate. Few of those 10 have had their first harvests.
NORML KC, the Kansas City chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, called for patience as dispensaries and cultivators come online. No manufacturing facilities are approved to operate as of December 1, 2020.
The slow rollout of operations of licensed facilities, greatly impacted by the pandemic, has resulted in licensed facilities taking the brunt of outcry from some in the activist community. NORML KC has denounced the attacks on open dispensaries and instead re-pivoted to encouraging support for more facilities to get online by increasing the amount of licenses available.
Missouri’s constitution gives whole licensing authority to the Department of Health and Senior Services, which has chosen to limit licenses to constitutional minimums. Applicants can challenge licensing decisions before the Administrative Hearing Commission. An ad-hoc group has organized to start examining program changes and adult-use for the 2022 ballot.
Over 700 appeals sit before the AHC, which has begun scheduling preliminary hearings in spring 2021 for appeals regarding license awards from December 2019-January 2020.
Cultivation licenses were awarded on December 26, 2019. Manufacturing licenses were awarded on January 2, 2020. Dispensary licenses were awarded on January 26, 2020. Over 2,100 applications were filed for the less than 400 licenses issued.
The state currently has licensed 60 cultivation facilities, 86 manufacturing facilities, 192 dispensaries, 11 testing labs, and 22 transportation companies.
According to Department program rules, licenses may be revoked after one year if not operational. The Department has already begun receiving variance requests regarding this operational timeline rule, with the first responses back to requesting facilities. It is estimated by industry thought leaders that 20-30 percent of initially licensed facilities will not reach operation.
The Department must give 6 months’ notice for any new application period.
The State has received over 90,000 applications for patient cards, with over 65,000 approved patients. Read more below.
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