Section reveals over 70 percent of licenses have changes to applications
The Missouri Cannabis Trade Association (MoCannTrade) hosted a webinar Zoom meeting Wednesday evening for all of its members, providing an industry, program, and association updates.
Leaders at the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation joined the call, including Section Director Lyndall Fraker, Facility Licensing and Compliance Director Andrea Balkenbush, and Section counsel Amy Moore.
Balkenbush explained that change facility requests have significantly slowed down the process of verification and, ultimately, commencement. She noted that between 70-80 percent of applicants have submitted change requests since receiving their licenses. Over half of applicants have applied to change something physical in their application, whether that is the location of their facility, a portion or all of their facility’s blueprint, and even ownership changes.
The Section must analyze and approve these changes, extending the timeline to open the facility. Due to the vast number of these changes, the timeframe in which facilities are expected to open is even more unknown. Balkenbush then emphasized, “as much as facilities can stick to their original application, the easier it will be to open facility doors.”
The Department did confirm they have had requests for commencement inspections since sending minimum standard review completion letters, including testing and cultivation facilities.
One of the most important points of the phone call was answering everyone’s biggest question, when will facilities open and have products on the shelves? Facilities must first complete their commencement inspection before opening their doors, but before that, the Department must send a minimum standard review completion letter to the facility in question. So far, the Department has sent out eight minimum standard review completion letters. The facility must also have attended the mandatory meeting held in Jefferson City in March, as well as having no change facility requests before proceeding with the commencement inspection.
According to the Department, the order they will move in is as follows: testing, cultivation, manufacturing, then dispensary. Vertically integrated facilities will receive their minimum standard review completion letters within a few days or a week of each other regardless of the order of operations. If for some reason a cultivation facility or dispensary opens before a dispensary, the Department has every intention of asking them their plans for their product without a lab to test it in.
The call provided an update on some pieces of legislation circulating and MoCannTrade’s intent to ensure that all bills passed are in favor of Missouri’s patients, as well as other updates regarding MoCannTrade.