The Start of Missouri’s Medical Marijuana Program
Wow, what a crazy time its been in Missouri’s upcoming cannabis industry since November, 2018. Missouri made state history when Amendment 2 passed with over 65% approval from Missourians. Patients, caregivers and industry professionals waited with baited breath for Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MO DHSS) to release rules, regulations and guidelines. The draft rules and guidelines were published and the Department opened the floor for public comment and input. After public comment and input, the Department launched the first couple of phases of the medical cannabis program; the acceptance of pre-file facility applications and the processing of patient and caregiver applications as well as patient and caregiver cultivation.
On January 7, 2019 MO DHSS began accepting pre-file facility applications and nonrefundable application fees as follows:
- $10,000 for cultivation facilities
- $6,000 for dispensary facilities
- $6,000 for medical cannabis-infused manufacturing facilities
As of June 25, 2019 MO DHSS has received a state-wide total of 554 pre-filed applications for a total of $3,952,000. That’s almost $4 million in nonrefundable fees! These applications will not be reviewed/processed until August 3, 2019.
On June 28, 2019 MO DHSS began accepting patient and caregiver applications and fees as follows:
- $25 for qualified patient license
- $25 for primary caregiver for qualified patient
- $100 additional fee for patient cultivation license
As of the close of business on July 15, 2019, MO DHSS has received a total of 2,920 patient applications with a breakdown of 2,864 patient applications and 53 caregiver applications. Lisa Cox, Chief, Office of Public Information is quoted as saying, “No, at this time, we have not begun tracking patient cultivators. We do expect that number to be available at a later date.” That is a minimum of $73,000 in less than 30 days time despite the lack of cultivation information. Those numbers are expected to grow exponentially over the next 30+ days as more and more patients seek to come on board with the Missouri Medical Cannabis Program. Keep in mind that a patient cultivation license is $100 so without that tracking information, we’re left guessing for now of the actual total revenue received from patient license applications to date.
I’m so disappointed to hear that Missouri’s medical cannabis program director Lyndall Fraker says the Kansas City-area congressional district will get only 24 licenses, but 73 have applied. It appears that the state is only planning to license the minimum number of statewide facilities required by Amendment 2 (24/congressional district). This brings up the concern of supply and demand, especially in the more rural areas of the state such as 6th congressional district north of the Kansas City metro, where only 17 applications have been filed. Only time will tell right now if equal access will truly become available for all Missouri residents. Fraker said the state is taking a cautious approach by granting only the minimum number of licenses initially but could grant more in future years.
Despite the numbers game, there is without a doubt, a burgeoning cannabis industry developing in the great state of Missouri. I look forward to sharing with you further developments in Missouri and will provide updated numbers from MO DHSS as they are available. I would also like to take a moment to share with you that I am very impressed with the transparency being provided by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. It took less than 24 hours for me to get a response back in regards to the patient application for licensure numbers. So, we at Hari Om Hemp tip our hats to the department and to Ms. Lisa Cox, Chief Public Information Officer for the Department.