The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) issued 60 medical cannabis cultivation licenses Dec. 26.
Over 500 applications were submitted to the state, according to a local KRCG report. The DHSS used a blind process to review and score each application, which consisted of at least 17 worksheets describing management plans, facility details, security measures and other eligibility requirements that were outlined in the program rules, the news outlet reported.
Applicants granted licenses have five days to accept the offer, and those not awarded licenses are now exploring their options to participate in Missouri’s up-and-coming medical cannabis market. This includes St. Louis-based Real Cannabis Co., which ranked 100 out of the 550 applications that were submitted for the 60 licenses.
“We do not know the specific scoring in each category at this point,” Real Cannabis Co. founder and CEO Derek Mays told Cannabis Business Times. “We are still optimistic about our manufacturing and dispensary licenses, and will be considering all options going forward to participate in the industry.”
For now, the Real Cannabis Co. team is awaiting the outcome of the other licensing rounds, and once they know which licenses they are ultimately awarded, they will consider pursuing other options.
“We will of course determine why the state scored our team lower than the others because we are confident that there are not 35 other teams in this state better positioned than us to operate a cultivation facility, particularly when you consider our team’s collective experience, investor backing and the quality of our facility,” Mays said.
In a Dec. 6 interview, Mays told Cannabis Business Times that Real Cannabis Co. would consider purchasing a cultivation license from one of the winners, should the company not be awarded its own license.
“[We will consider] approaching teams to purchase a license from teams who may have changed their mind or may not feel as strongly as they did before about the opportunities in Missouri,” he said.
“We’ll also look at if we believe the scoring process was unfair, we’ll look into our options as it relates to that, as well,” Mays added. “I am a lawyer but I am not a particularly litigious individual as it relates to a process like this. I don’t want to be the person who is looking to sue the state based upon a sour grapes posture, but at the same time, I want to make sure that the process was fair and that we got our fair shake throughout. And if I believe we did not I will aggressively seek out some form of remedy. If none of that occurs, then we will quickly pivot to looking for other opportunities in other states.”
The Callicoat family, another one of the applicants denied a license, has filed a lawsuit against the state in Cole County Circuit Court, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report. The Sarcoxie-based family argued that the license limit violates its constitutional “right to farm,” and also challenged the state’s “geographical bonuses,” which granted more points to applicants in zip codes with high unemployment rates, according to the news outlet. The lawsuit seeks to declare the licensing cap unconstitutional and asks the court to order the state to award the family a cultivation license.
The DHSS plans to license manufacturers and dispensaries next month, according to a KSHB report. The department announced the winners of the state’s 10 medical cannabis testing lab licenses earlier this month.
The state has 25,455 registered patients and 666 caregivers as of Dec. 23, KSHB reported. Industry stakeholders expect dispensaries to open to the public by April 2020, according to the news outlet.