Marijuana

A pair of Innsbrook residents and a cannabis grower out of Earth City are among the applicants seeking state licenses to operate medical marijuana businesses in Warren County.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) this month released the names and other information of more than 500 applicants for growing, manufacturing and dispensing medical marijuana in Missouri. The information was released following a lawsuit by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch seeking to make the records open to the public.

Three of the state applicants identified areas in Warren County as their intended business locations. The proposed businesses include a dispensary in Warrenton, growing and manufacturing sites in or near Warrenton, and a growing facility in southern Warren County.

Innsbrook resident Tracy Livingston is one of the people seeking a license for a dispensary, under the name Green Wellness Inc., aka Green Wellness Releaf. Livingston and business partner Ruthie Jayne, also of Innsbrook, approached the Warrenton Board of Aldermen in April to inform the city of their interest in establishing a dispensary.

Their intended location is at 106 S. East St., just off Warrenton’s Main Street. They have already submitted a business license application to the city for that address.

Another of the applicants, BeLeaf Medical LLC, is an existing business already involved in the cannabis industry. The company has previously been the subject of reporting by St. Louis-area media for its production of CBD oil. CBD is a chemical extracted from a strain of cannabis that lacks the psychoactive properties of marijuana.

BeLeaf currently grows cannabis plants at its facility in Earth City. It filed two applications for marijuana-related business sites in the Warrenton area, a growing facility and a manufacturing facility where medical marijuana products would be made.

BeLeaf also filed nine other applications for medical marijuana facilities — mostly dispensaries — in Earth City, St. Louis, Creve Coeur, St. Charles, Wentzville and Columbia.

A third applicant, Cella Green LLC, identified the Marthasville area as the location of a proposed growing facility. No name was included with the application, but the mailing address provided for the business belongs to a home in Ladue.

Warren County officials said no applications have been submitted locally for a medical marijuana facility in that area.

Just outside Warren County, medical marijuana business applicants are seeking state licenses for a total of one growing facility and three dispensaries in Wentzville, as well as seven growing or manufacturing facilities in Washington.

Application process

There is no guarantee which businesses applying for medical marijuana licenses throughout the state will be approved.

Businesses seeking medical marijuana licenses began sending applications and filing fees to DHSS earlier this year. The state does not officially begin accepting applications until Aug. 3.

A constitutional amendment approved by Missouri voters in November 2018 requires the state 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 U.S. congressional districts.

Warren County lies within Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes a large region of east-central Missouri outside of St. Louis County.

It costs $10,000 to prefile an application to open a cultivation facility in Missouri. After the prefiling deadline ends in December 2021, the cost to file an application for a cultivation facility is $5,000.

In addition there is an annual fee of $25,000 for a cultivation facility. The cost to file a renewal application is $5,000.

Facility licenses and certifications are valid for three years, according to DHSS.

To prefile for dispensary and manufacturing facilities, the fee is $6,000, with an annual fee of $10,000 and a renewal fee of $3,000. The fee to file an application after December 2021 is $3,000.

Revenue generated through licensing fees are earmarked for a new fund for veteran health care. According to DHSS, it is expected that $20 million annually would be collected through the fees.

In June, DHSS said it had received 543 application forms so far, with fees submitted totaling $3.9 million.

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