JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Applications for medical marijuana identification cards will soon be available in Missouri.
The state health department will post application forms Tuesday.
Voters in November overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana and marijuana-infused products for patients who suffer from serious illnesses. Missouri is now among 33 states approving medical marijuana.
Conditions that qualify include cancer, epilepsy and psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
"The people of Missouri have put a stamp to the end of prohibition. Have put a stamp on the end of incarceration nation. Rather than locking Americans up for cannabis and treating it like a crime and a devil, we're giving them access to hope and healing and also massive economic development for the state," explained KC Stark, of the Cannabis Startup Incubator in Kansas City, Missouri.
Patient and caregiver applications may be submitted beginning July 4. The state has 30 days to approve or deny the applications. Applicants need a physician certification that's less than 30 days old.
It will be months before Missouri patients can buy medical marijuana.
The Department of Health and Senior Services won't begin accepting applications for growing, manufacturing and dispensing marijuana until Aug. 3. The agency estimates medical marijuana will be available as early as January 2020.
Stark said patients who receive approval from the state can also apply to grow their own marijuana plants. Applying for that option requires at $100 fee on top of the $25 fee for a patient ID.
Stark said because the state will only approve a limited number of permits for a dispensary or cultivation facility, the application process is very competitive. It requires about $10,000 in non-refundable fees.
"It's the resumé of your lifetime combined with the opportunity of a lifetime," Stark said. "So there is high risk and high reward."
His organization is hosting a workshop June 15 to help interested entrepreneurs learn more about the process. Click here to register for the event.