KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nine applicants in the Kansas City area have been approved for a medical marijuana manufacturing license.
The license allows the approved businesses to make infused products, such as edibles, oils, tinctures and more.
More than 400 entities applied for manufacturing licenses, but only 86 were approved.
This map shows the nine approved licensees located in the Kansas City area.
The state denied Brett Murdock's company, Aloha Cannabis, a license to grow medical marijuana. Murdock recently found out his manufacturing license was also denied.
"We're still all pretty confused right now. We thought we were essentially the poster child for what Kansas City meant to see in Amendment 2. We're all locals, we are all very passionate, we all have very passionate, personal reasons for wanting to see this through," Murdock said.
Many smaller companies, such as Murdock's, say the hyper-competitiveness that came out of Missouri's medical marijuana rollout is making way for large, multi-state corporations with deep pockets.
"It basically means only people who are willing to throw money in a trash can and light it on fire are able to achieve higher scores," Murdock said.
Chris Dalton, vice president of the Missouri Cannabis Industry Association, said the market in Missouri is just too small. Dalton also said Missouri should model itself after other states such as Okhaloma, which awarded 4,300 cultivation licenses.
"A different, more free-market approach, which is personally the way I think we should do this — that people should be able to get into the market and see what they can do and survive or fail," Dalton said.
Many people, including Murdock, are appealing after spending thousands of dollars on the application alone.
"We have land secured. We put down a foundation, put money into it. That's another thing that's been a little frustrating, is a lot of these corporations that did win licenses, many of them are for the same address or addresses that have zero development," Murdock said.
One company that secured a manufacturing and transportation license is Next Wave MO LLC, listed at the same South Kansas City address as Focus Partners LLC, a top scorer that secured three cultivation licenses. Right now, it is just open fields.
The man behind those operations, John Mueller, is from St. Louis, but had success in Las Vegas as a mega cannabis executive. He said he plans to get his facilities up and running by summertime.
"I don't hate the players," Dalton said. "Everybody's just trying to do what they do, but I hate the way the game is coming out now, so I'm working towards changing the landscape of the game."
Dalton and other marijuana activists said they want to see the state open up the market a little bit more and approve more licenses. They said the state vastly underestimated the demand of medical marijuana.
Missouri will announce which dispensaries are approved and denied on Jan. 24.
Click here to see the full list of manufacturing license applicants.