On May 24, 2019, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (“DSS”) posted final rules for the state’s medical marijuana program. This comes several months after Missouri voters approved Amendment 2, legalizing medical marijuana for patients with serious illnesses and medical conditions. The rules, which take effect June 3, 2019, require Missouri to approve at least 60 commercial marijuana growers, 86 facilities that manufacture marijuana-infused products, and 192 dispensaries.
The final rules contain strict residency requirements on potential applicants, requiring that applicants reside in Missouri and do not claim resident privileges in another state or country. The DSS will start accepting patient applications for medical marijuana on July 4, 2019 and business applications from August 3, 2019 to August 17, 2019. DSS officials then have until the end of the year to evaluate and score the business applications before awarding licenses. According to the state, sales relating to marijuana products are expected to top $100 million by 2025. To date, Missouri has already generated about $3.67 million in application fees from 510 pre-filed application forms for business licenses. The cultivation facility application fee is $10,000 while the application fee for both dispensaries and marijuana-infused product manufacturing facilities is $6,000.
For the time being, the DSS is keeping the filers’ identities a secret. There is pressure from certain groups, however, seeking to release the applicants’ names. For example, the Post-Dispatch—a major regional newspaper in St. Louis—recently filed a lawsuit against Governor Mike Parson’s administration, alleging that the state has violated the Sunshine Law by failing to disclose records that identify individuals seeking to sell marijuana products in Missouri.
We will continue to monitor the implementation of Amendment 2 as the state receives and evaluates applications, and eventually issues licenses.