KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nearly two years after voters approved medical marijuana in Missouri, it’s still not available for purchase.
Though some dispensaries are now officially open and product has been grown, there are still no operational facilities, which are required to test the product.
The lights are hung, the pallets are stacked and everything seems like it’s ready for the cultivation of 18,000 medical marijuana plants at Greenlight’s Kansas City 96,000-square-foot warehouse. The only thing Greenlight is waiting for is the literal “green light” from the state to start planting.
“Everyone thought this would be progressed along a little bit faster. We’ve got a little over 60,000 patients that are waiting for guys like me to get up and growing,” John Mueller, Greenlight CEO, said.
Missouri is now renewing medical marijuana cards for people who have had them more than a year without any product.
“We were very clear that dispensaries wouldn’t be open to buy it, retail wise, until this year until mid year. Many may not have understood that,” said Lyndall Fraker, state director for the DHSS section for Medical Marijuana.
That original timeframe has been delayed in part by COVID-19.
“It slowed the industry down. Your planning and zoning, your city council, everyone across the state kind of took a pause,” Mueller said.
But now the requests to commence operations are starting to pour in.
“We know it’s going to get very busy,” Fraker said.
One of those requests for a final inspection came from Fresh Green Dispensary in Lee’s Summit where Rob and Bianca Sullivan have been busy.
“We are here until 9, 10, 11, 12. I think we were here until 1 in the morning the other night,” Bianca said.
“It will be a 2-3 hour walkthrough making sure the security features work correctly, that the rooms are separated, that there’s only card access,” her husband Rob explained.
Four dispensaries in St. Louis and Ozark have passed final inspection, but at this time can only sell available products like CBD oil.
Only three of the 60 cultivators from the initial license awarding phases have been approved to begin growing. Cannabis takes about 90 days to mature.
“We’re going to run out of product immediately if a big facility like this doesn’t get up and running, so we are kind of the tip of the sword,” Mueller said.
Fraker said he hopes one of those testing facilities will be operational by the end of this month.
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