JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The department charged with regulating the fledging medical marijuana market in Missouri is proposing issuing fewer licenses than the number of application fees they have already received.
On Friday, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services released additional drafts of rules for the medical marijuana program. Draft rules for cultivation facilities, dispensary facilities, infused products manufacturing facilities and medical marijuana establishments in general are now posted on the DHSS website.
Part of the draft rules is a proposed cap on facility licenses to be issues. They are looking to issues 338 total facility licenses between cultivation, dispensaries, and infused-manufacturing. To date, the state has collected 462 pre-filed application fees between the three facility categories.
The proposed cap on cultivation facilities in Missouri is 60 licenses, which is fewer than half the 139 pre-filed application fees already paid to the state. DHSS has collected 252 pre-filed application fees for dispensary facilities and is proposing only issuing 192 licenses. 71 pre-filed application fees for medical marijuana-infused manufacturing facilities has been collected with an expected 86 licenses to be issued.
The proposed caps do include a caveat: “unless the department determines the limit must be increased in order to meet the demand for medical marijuana by qualifying patients.”
At a forum in Jefferson City, officials noted that pre-filing the non-refundable application fee does not give the applicant any advantage in the process nor is it a guarantee of a license.
In total, the DHSS Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation held five public forums throughout the state in February and March. Attendees in Jefferson City, Poplar Bluff, St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield had an opportunity to speak directly with the officials about their concerns and suggestions for the program’s rules.
“It was a great opportunity for us to travel the state and hear from parties interested in this program,” said Lyndall Fraker, Director of the DHSS Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation. “All feedback we received was considered, and is still being considered, as we continue drafting the rules.”
They are proposing to limit outdoor cultivation facilities to 2,800 flowering plants per license. Indoor facilities are limited to 30,000 square feet per license. Facilities would also be required to develop, implement, and maintain an odor control plan.
Under the proposed rules, dispensary facilities must require, for every transaction, production of — 1. A qualifying patient or primary caregiver identification card; 2. A government-issued photo ID; and 3. In the case of medical marijuana plant or seed purchases, a patient cultivation identification card.
In any area where medical marijuana is accessible in a dispensary, the facility would be required to only allow access at any given time for a number of qualifying patients and/or primary caregivers equal to the number of staff available to serve those individuals at that time.
These rules are in draft form and are subject to change. Under the voter approved constitutional amendment, DHSS must have all rules finalized by June 4.
Rules specifically focused on qualified patients and primary caregivers were released in February. Additional drafts of proposed rules addressing other components of the medical marijuana program will be posted online as they are completed. DHSS encourages feedback on these drafts as well as future drafts as these are not final. Suggestions can be submitted using the online suggestion form.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.