KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services began issuing licenses for medical marijuana cultivation facilities, the department announced Thursday.
DHSS will issue 60 of the licenses to top-scoring facilities that meet the eligibility requirements set forth in the program rules. Eight of the licenses went to companies in the greater Kansas City area - from Smithville to Grain Valley. They include:
- Focus Partners - 14655 Prospect Avenue, Kansas City (2 licenses)
- Holistic Missouri - 14514 S US 71 Highway, Kansas City
- CPC of Missouri - 14816 169 HWY Smithville (3 licenses)
- OXG LLC - 3823 N Cobbler Road Independence
- Missouri Made Marijuana - 301 S. Outer Belt Road Grain Valley
The Cannabis Startup Incubator mapped all 60 licensed cultivator facilities on their website. Founder KC Stark said because 554 companies applied for 60 licenses, he expects some of the companies who were denied to appeal and possibly sue the state to get approval.
In order to be fair to all applicants, DHSS employed a "'blind' application scorer who had no access to applicants' identifying information," according to Lyndall Fraker, director of the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation.
The director of DHSS praised the section's work thus far.
"The manner in which they have efficiently actualized the amendment that voters approved last year is an excellent example of good governance,” Dr. Randall Williams said.
Chris Sellers runs CLS Med-Can, a transportation facility. He is excited about what the medical cannabis industry can do for the state, from healing people to creating jobs. He anticipates hiring 30 people over the next several months.
"I truly believe it will put a huge, huge, huge kick in the butt to Missouri when it comes to tax purposes and will keep us ahead of other states that are now falling behind," Sellers said.
The amendment Missouri voters approved in 2018 making medical cannabis legal created a four percent tax on medical-cannabis-related sales to pay for a healthcare fund for veterans.
The Missouri DHSS plans to announce the approval of dispensaries and manufacturing facilities next month. Experts anticipate those dispensaries opening to the public by about April 2020.
Cities can establish how close medical cannabis facilities can be to churches, daycare centers and schools. In Kansas City, dispensaries, cultivation, testing and manufacturing facilities must be 300 feet from churches and daycares. Cultivation, testing and manufacturing facilities must be 750 feet away from schools. Dispensaries must be 300 feet from schools.
As of Dec. 23, 2019, the state has approved 25,455 patients and 666 caregivers. 8,383 of those people can cultivate their own cannabis for individual, medicinal purposes. The state has denied 783 caregiver/patient applications.