Missouri medical cannabis authorities have recently revoked the licenses of multiple medical marijuana-related businesses that failed to meet regulators’ one-year “commencement inspection” deadlines.
Missouri Marijuana Businesses Lose Operating Licenses
The launch of Missouri’s medical marijuana (MMJ) program has experienced its fair share of speed bumps since the state began awarding business licenses over 15 months ago. The latest of which is a series of license revocations to would-be cannabis companies that weren’t able to begin operations within the one-year deadline.
In Missouri’s Code of State Regulations, rules state that, “if a facility is granted a license or certification but has not passed a commencement inspection within one (1) year of the department issuing the license or certification, the license or certification may be revoked.”
According to Missouri MMJ Program Director Lyndall Fraker, the major issue for businesses in Missouri’s medical marijuana industry is the same problem plaguing many industries today: the pandemic. Fraker recently told the Grown In newsletter that, “they certainly were held up due to Covid. . . Issues such as equipment that was ordered from overseas. . . we heard stories about building regulations in certain communities where the zoning regulations, zoning departments were delaying them for various reasons.”
Many Missouri companies were able to receive operating deadline extensions, as opening delays are far from an isolated issue. Currently (as of March 22, 2021), out of the 370 licensed medical marijuana businesses in the state, only 97 are currently operating: 60 dispensaries, 17 cultivators, 8 manufacturers, 8 transporters, and 4 testing labs.
Nearly 260 businesses—over two-thirds of all companies that hold a license—were granted a deadline extension. As expected, most companies credit COVID-19 and issues raising capital as the key reasons for launch delays. Still, extensions don’t mean that businesses are completely out of the woods. Though some deadlines were extended as far as September, “revocations for failure to pass a commencement inspection within the required timeframe may yet be issued for any of the facilities that have received an extension of the original deadline or whose extension requests are still pending,” said a spokesperson for Missouri’s medical marijuana regulators.
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