Missouri has finalized the rules for the state’s medical marijuana program.
The list of 11 regulations for the program was posted on the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services’ website Friday. The rules outline the facility application process, which patients will qualify and regulations for growers and dispensaries, among other guidelines.
The revised rules will be implemented starting Monday, with patient and business applications becoming available to fill out the next day. DHSS will accept patient applications starting July 4 and business applications starting Aug. 3. The department will score applications until Dec. 31, before licenses are given out in 2020.
After voters in 2018 approved Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana in Missouri, the department released a drafted rule set in March. During the opportunity for public comment, over 500 came in, according to a news release from DHSS.
Missouri’s program, which joins 33 other states and Washington, D.C., in medical marijuana legalization, has attracted massive interest from businesses, with the new market likely to generate tens of millions of dollars per year from licensing fees and tax proceeds.
However, a recent study by MU economics professors found that tax revenue from medical marijuana sales would be much lower than initially predicted, because of far fewer Missouri residents being eligible for treatment than expected. The study predicted between $2.9 million and $3.4 million in 2022 tax revenue from sales, far less than the initiative’s claimed figure of $24 million.
The state has already received over $3.67 million in fees from 510 pre-filed applications, according to the DHSS website. Of those applications, 153 are for growing facilities, 277 for dispensaries and 80 for manufacturers. However, the identities of those who have filed for applications are being withheld by the state; the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has sued the state to release them.
Missouri is required to license 60 growing facilities, 86 manufacturers and 192 dispensaries, 24 for each of Missouri’s eight Congressional districts.
Thirty-two dispensary applications within Missouri’s 4th district, which includes Boone County, have been filed. For comparison, 16 applications have come from the northern 6th district and 71 from the 5th district, which includes Kansas City.
Columbia city staff created population-proportion regulations for facilities, permitting two growing facilities, three manufacturers and six dispensaries, in a meeting of the Columbia Planning & Zoning Commission in April. The commission also voted to create 250-foot buffer zones between dispensaries and churches, schools and day cares as well as 1,000-foot buffer zones between other medical marijuana facilities.
DHSS will accept further public comment on the revised rules in July and will hold a public hearing.
Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.