The Missouri Health Department announced earlier this week that it received 2,163 applications for medical cannabis facility licenses by the deadline at 4:30 p.m. on Monday. State regulators will need to choose only 348 license winners by the end of this year. Of that 348, 192 will be for dispensaries, 86 for manufacturing, 60 for cultivation facilities and ten for testing facilities.
Missouri approved a ballot initiative last year to legalize cannabis and officials have said that the interest from prospective cannabis business owners has been overwhelming.
Applications started being accepted on August 3 with an original deadline of August 17 but the Health Department decided to extend that until Monday to accommodate the interest.
“We are expecting a large volume of applications to be submitted during a short window of time,” said the director of the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services, Dr. Randall Williams, in a statement. “Hundreds of people pre-filled non-refundable fees, and we haven’t received their official applications just yet. We want to ensure all of our applicants receive excellent customer service.”
The state has also received more than 6,500 medical cannabis applications for patients and caregivers. When the Amendment was passed last November, state regulators were required to begin accepting patient applications by June 4 and dispensary applications by August 3.
“We greatly appreciate the input and feedback we have received from so many Missourians that have helped us implement Article XVI of the Constitutions,” said Williams. “While our main goals have always been putting patients first and maintaining integrity of the program, we also think this exemplified good governance in implementing a complex initiative passed by the overwhelming majority of Missouri voters.”
Applications for the various cannabis facilities will now be reviewed and “blind-scored” by Wise Health Solutions, a Nevada-based third party company. The state will then have until the end of the year to determine which applications will be accepted.
Missourians can expect for dispensaries to begin opening in the state sometime mid-2020.