Audrain County could become a little more green in the coming months. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is now in the process of scoring more than 2,100 applications for medical marijuana facilities, with 12 licenses sought in Audrain County from five businesses.
The department on Wednesday released the statewide list of applicants who filed for the opportunity to open medical marijuana businesses in the state. Under the provisions of Amendment 2, added to the Missouri Constitution in November, there must be a minimum of 192 dispensaries, distributed geographically around the state, with at least 24 in each of the eight congressional districts.
All the applications must be scored by a contractor hired by the department. Applications must be approved or denied for licensure by DHSS within 150 days of the application submission date.
Lisa Cox, department spokeswoman, did not respond Wednesday afternoon to questions about how the department will decide which applications to approve if there are more with identical scores than licenses available.
The state will also issue the minimum required 60 cultivation and 86 infused-product manufacturing licenses, but there are no directives to distribute those throughout the state. The state will also license 10 testing laboratories.
The state received 2,163 applications of all types during the Aug. 2 to Aug. 19 window for submissions.
In the Fourth Congressional District, which includes all or portions of Audrain, Boone, Cooper, Howard, Moniteau and Randolph counties in Central Missouri, the department received 128 applications for dispensary licenses, 78 applications for cultivation licenses and 46 applications for infused product manufacturing.
Three different businesses want to open facilities in Mexico. A call to Show-Me Relief Inc., which seeks to operate a cultivation facility in the county, did not return a call by The Mexico Ledger before the time of publication. GRD Mexico LLC wants to open a dispensary, but offered no comment since operating licenses have not yet been approved by the state. Dizzy Cow L.C., seeking to operate as a marijuana infused product manufacturer, did not return a call from The Ledger by the time of publication.
The operations must be located at least 1,000 feet from churches, schools and day care facilities. Four businesses had previously pre-filed applications for facilities in the county, but only one remained from the pre-filed list to the open application period list — Dizzy Cow L.C.
Two businesses in Vandalia are seeking to operate multiple medical marijuana businesses. 1913 Holdings LLC seeks to operate as a cultivator and infused product manufacturer, while Standard Wellness Missouri wants to operate as a cultivator under three licenses, dispensary and infused product manufacturer under three licenses.
In Boone County, Warrick Wadman, a chemical engineer, said Wednesday he’s never used cannabis “in any form” but if his applications are approved, he’ll become the proprietor of a medical marijuana dispensary, cultivation facility and infused products factory.
Wadman’s three applications are among 61 filed with the state Department of Health and Senior Services for licenses to grow, sell and make medical marijuana products in Boone County. The list includes 49 dispensaries, all in Columbia, where the City Council has decided to limit the number to seven, or one for every 20,000 residents.
Wadman, a chemical engineer, is currently director of membrane technologies at Environmental Dynamics Inc. His application, for a company he calls MO Cann Crush, is to use a building at 5301 Paris Road for all three operations.
“Ideally, I would like to go from seedling to providing it to the patient,” he said. “That would be ideal. Patients could do a tour and see the plants and dispensary.”
There were applications from 20 of the 24 counties in the district, with only Dade, Hickory, Moniteau, and St. Clair counties without applications.
In the central Missouri region:Cooper County applicants are seeking six cultivator, three dispensary and six infused product manufacturer licenses. Howard County business Lit Naturals is seeking to put a growing facility and dispensary in Fayette. Inovatia AgriTesting Services, LLC, has filed an application to be a testing laboratory. Randolph County applicants asked for eight cultivation, five infused product manufacturer and eight dispensary licenses.
Under the Columbia city ordinance regulating medical marijuana, applicants who receive a state license will have three weeks to submit an application for a city license. The state could license more dispensaries than the city ordinance allows and that will create legal headaches for the city, said Dan Viets, a Columbia attorney who has advocated for marijuana law reform since 1973 and was a key player in the 2018 campaign.
Viets has no financial stake in any medical marijuana application, he said.
“The council has no authority to limit the number of licenses but I don’t think it is likely” the state will put more than seven of the Fourth District’s dispensaries in Columbia, Viets said. “I doubt we are going to have to argue about it, but if there are, you can count on a lawsuit and the city can count on losing that lawsuit.”
The scoring will sort out the applications, Viets said.
“I think it is going to come down to a fairly arbitrary selection,” he said. “Many of these people are going to be as well qualified as others.”
With the number of applications vastly exceeding the number of licenses available, Wadman knows he may not get a dispensary license but hopes he will land at least a cultivation and infused-products license.
“I think it still has value,” he said. “I think I can bring value to it.”
Charles Dunlap of The Mexico Ledger contributed to this report.