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DHSS begins rulemaking process for medical marijuana program


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The state department charged with implementing and regulating medical marijuana in Missouri is now in the process of developing rules for the new program.

The constitutional amendment approved by voters during the November 2018 general elections give the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services oversight of medical marijuana.

On January 7, 2019, per the constitutional amendment, the department started accepting pre-filed license application fees for facilities. DHSS noted they have accepted more than 250 forms and more than $2 million in application fees this week.

The nonrefundable application fees are $10,000 for cultivation facilities, $6,000 for dispensary facilities, and $6,000 for medical marijuana-infused manufacturing facilities.

“We applaud the department in their effective implementation of the program thus far. MoCannTrade will work with the department and Missouri businesses to help build the best medical marijuana program in the country,” said Jack Cardetti, MoCannTrade spokesman.

The collection of non-refundable pre-filed license application fees is ongoing, and early submission of application fees does not guarantee a license or provide any competitive advantage in the application process, the department notes.

Per the constitutional amendment, the department — which has created a division led by former-Rep. Lyndall Fraker — has until June 4, 2019 to make official application forms available.

In December, DHSS issued an emergency rule explaining where and when licensing application fees could be pre-filed with DHSS and provided the form for pre-filing licensing application fees.

In a news release, the department said that it is currently on schedule to establish program rules in order to efficiently regulate and control the cultivation, manufacturing and sale of marijuana for medical use.

“We have a responsibility as public servants of Missouri to implement this process for qualified patients according to the Constitution, and we are pleased that the initial phase has been executed on schedule and with great success thanks to the tireless work of an adaptable staff,” said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director.

As part of its effort to gather all relevant input, DHSS has established a new page on its medical marijuana program website where it will begin releasing initial drafts of its rules for public review.

So far, they have identified likely categories for the rules. The categories listed are definitions, general provisions, qualified patient/primary caregiver, medical marijuana establishments generally, cultivation facility, infused products manufacturing facility, testing facility, dispensary facility, seed to sale tracking, transportation, physician/health care provider, taxation, penalties, and miscellaneous provisions.

Drafts of rules are expected to be posted online as soon as they are available. Suggestions for these initial drafts may be submitted through the Suggestion Form available online.