Marijuana

Four potential medical marijuana businesses have notified state regulators of their intent to seek licenses to operate in Warren County.

Two growers, one dispensary and one product manufacturer have submitted applications and fees to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), according to data released in June. This despite the fact that DHSS doesn’t officially begin accepting such applications until Aug. 3.

Statewide, a total of 543 pre-filed application forms and $3.9 million in application fees have been received by the state. However, those numbers could change once the official application process begins in August, and there is no guarantee where any of actual facilities will be located, DHSS officials said.

“Although these numbers are not at all final, we hope this information will give potential applicants, as well as cities and counties, some perspective on the field of applicants in their respective areas,” said Lyndall Fraker, director of DHSS Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation.

The state also recently began accepting applications for medical marijuana patients. An application is at the DHSS website.

Not much is known about the medical marijuana businesses that have already sent in their applications. Data provided by the state only includes how many of each type of business have applied in each county.

However, entrepreneurs seeking to establish a medical marijuana dispensary have already approached the city of Warrenton to inform officials of their intended location.

Representatives of Green Wellness Relief spoke to the Warrenton Board of Aldermen in April to announce that they hope to open a dispensary on South East Street in downtown. That coincided with an ongoing discussion by the board of aldermen to allow such businesses within a 1,000-foot buffer zone around schools and churches. The buffer was officially reduced in May to 100 feet within the city of Warrenton.

Other local government offices in Warren County have been deciding on local rules for marijuana-related businesses since voters approved medical cannabis in November 2018. Although local governments have limited influence over how such businesses operate, power to accept or deny facility applications lies with the state.

The state is required by the law to approve at least 60 commercial growers, 86 facilities that manufacture marijuana-infused products and 192 dispensary licenses — 24 dispensaries for each of the state’s congressional districts.

Applications for marijuana facilities, especially dispensaries, are mostly concentrated in high-population counties.

In neighboring counties: St. Charles County has 20 applications, and Franklin County has 22. Meanwhile, Lincoln and Montgomery counties have four applications and one, respectively.

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