SMMR expands on commencement process


While the final impact of the COVID19 pandemic is yet to be determined, several of Missouri’s medical marijuana facility licensees have started the new year off by opening doors or taking final steps toward compliance.

Over the last several weeks, the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation (SMMR) employees have pushed several approvals and worked with dozens of businesses to ensure as few delays as possible according to leadership.

“In the last 45 days we have moved 38 facilities through to the approval to operate process,” Paul Rockers, Compliance Director for DHSS SMMR told association members during a MoCannTrade meetup on Feb. 10.

“We’re learning, we’re growing, we’re developing the program out, we’re making modifications, we’re making improvements, we’re trying to streamline the process as we move forward,” Rockers continued.

As of last week, the Department had deemed 72 facilities approved to operate, 56 facilities have requested commencement, and 228 facilities have been approved for an extension of the operational deadline.

Rockers explained that it takes about 30 staff labor hours per facility, not including any management time to complete the approval to operate the process.

One of the most exhaustive processes is the review of documentation and paperwork that is required prior to scheduling commencement. As Rockers detailed the process the department is following in the commencement process, he emphasized the importance of documentation and adherence to a facility’s filings.


Two things that were highlighted during discussions:

Once a facility has been approved variance for extension a compliance officer will reach out to ensure milestones leading to the request for commencement are adhered to and progressing in a timely manner. Rockers also addressed phased approaches or the expansion of facilities into additional spaces or buildout, reiterating that each expansion will need to be inspected before being brought online.

Commencement Process

  • Commencement begins with a facility request
  • The state’s compliance officer will request documents from the facility

o    Officer will review worksheets submitted in the application, looking for commitments made by the facility

o    Ex. sq footage in cultivation, products committed to in manufacturing, did a dispensary list delivery services?

o    Minimum requirements for licensing

o    Were there any additional commitments or issues that were to be rectified

o    Any change requests that were approved commitments must be completed

  • Once the review is completed the state will set a conference call with the facility to review and discuss any additional or incomplete requirements
  • Once the required documentation review is complete the state will schedule the physical site inspection
  • During the inspection, the state’s compliance officer will communicate with facility representatives while on-site to address any issues on site
  • Compliance officers will reach out within 3 business days to communicate and discuss or review any inspection issues