The Department of Health in Missouri announced earlier this week that it had received 2,163 applications from companies that wanted to operate medical cannabis facilities in the state. This tally reflects the applications that were received by the time the 4:30 pm Monday deadline clocked.
Only a small fraction of those applicants will be given licenses by the end of this year since the number of dispensary licensees required is 192 while 86 licenses will be given to manufacturing facilities. 60 licenses are earmarked for medical marijuana cultivators while ten are for testing facilities. This means that the state will issue a total of 348 licenses.
Missouri was one of the states in which voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize medical cannabis during the midterm elections. When regulators announced that interested companies should start submitting their applications, the response was massive.
When the constitutional amendment was passed, the state was required to start receiving facility license applications by August 3. The original deadline for the submission of license applications was August 17 but the huge demand made the Health Department to extend that deadline to Monday (Aug. 19).
The extension was also motivated by the desire to give all those people who had paid the non-refundable license application fee a chance to submit their applications for consideration when the applications are being assessed.
The constitutional amendment also required the regulators to begin accepting applications from patients and caregivers by June 4. By the start of this week, 6,500 patients and caregivers had expressed interest in participating in the medical marijuana program.
Dr. Randall Williams, the Missouri Health Department director, revealed that the regulators were pleased by the enthusiasm exhibited for the medical cannabis program. He explained that everything that his department is doing is geared at providing excellent customer service, and that was partially why they had extended the deadline for the submission of facility applications.
Now that the license application deadline has passed, the next stage will involve scoring the applications in order to identify which ones will be selected. The scoring will be undertaken by Wise Health Solutions, a third-party private company based in Nevada.
By the end of this year, Missouri will name the successful applicants and work will begin in earnest so that by mid-2020, patients can start accessing medical cannabis products in licensed dispensaries.
Experts applaud the seamless way in which Missouri has handled the process so far and they expect industry actors like Youngevity International Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS) to also be pleased that everything is on track as laid out in the constitutional amendment which legalized medical marijuana.
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