Amendment 2 goes into effect Dec. 6, but Missouri is still a long way off from seeing any legal retail dispensaries.
The Department of Health and Senior Services, the regulatory body, recently released their timeline of deadlines it must meet for creating and accepting licenses.
Jan. 5, 2019 – Pre-filed application fees will begin to be accepted. June 4, 2019 – Application forms and instructions will be available. July 4, 2019 – Applications for identification cards will begin to be accepted. Aug. 3, 2019 – Facility applications will begin to be accepted.
Dan Viets has spent decades advocating for the legalization of marijuana, especially as an alternative to opioid use to treat serious conditions. Viets is the state coordinator for the Missouri chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), but he’s also the president of the Amendment 2 campaign committee.
“It was tremendous to see that the voters of this state understood what we were trying to tell them,” he told ABC 17 News Friday.
Viets has been working with Missouri NORML to answer as many questions as possible about the new laws, and admits that there are still a few things that are still coming together but said they’re working to get everything in motion as quickly as possible.
After meeting with the director of DHSS a few days ago, Viets said they are also eager to get the ball rolling and meet these deadlines a little sooner.
When it comes to facility licenses, the department has 150 days from the time it receives the application to award or deny it. Different facilities come with different fees:
Cultivation Facilities require a $10,000 non-refundable application fee and a $25,000 annual fee. Dispensary Facilities require a $6,000 non-refundable application fee and a $10,000 annual fee.
Medical marijuana-infused manufacturing facilities require a $6,000 non-refundable application fee and a $10,000 annual fee.
DHSS must issue at least 24 licenses for retail dispensaries per eight congressional districts, which would mean there need to be a minimum of just under 200 across the state. Viets said he’s hoping DHSS will authorize more than that.
“We want there to be, both for the sake of convenience for patients and for the sake of true competition to keep prices down,” he said. “There should be more dispensaries, not fewer.”
Patients can also grow up to six plants at home under certain conditions, and Viets said it is possible that a patient can receive their license to be a patient cultivator before dispensaries open. That license would be $100 a year and is in addition to the $25 patients pay annually for their card.
Patient cards are valid for a year, and facility licenses are valid for three.
ABC 17 News reported on Nov. 7 that patients with a doctor’s certification would be protected from the law, but since then Viets said they’ve gotten more clarification.
While this law goes into effect Dec. 6, Viets said although patients with a doctor’s certification and a pending application will technically be protected from the law, he wouldn’t count on that protection because it is still illegal to buy cannabis in Missouri.
Although, patients who are legal in their own states are protected in Missouri as of Dec. 6.
ABC 17 News will continue to ask questions about the new law, and bring you any updates as things get sorted out by the Department of Health and Senior Services.
For now, here is a link to the DHSS page on medical marijuana, and a link to the Missouri NORML website. Both websites are working to answer as many questions as possible about the new medical marijuana laws.