Despite threats to do so in advisory letters and in Grown In interviews, Missouri cannabis regulators do not appear to be revoking licenses from entities that have not stood up their businesses by September 30. The deadline, which is just over two years since licenses were first awarded, was first set in an April 22 guidance letter, and backed up in a July interview by top regulator Lyndall Fraker with Grown In.
Last week, asked for confirmation that the state would be revoking licenses for those not operating by the deadline, Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Lisa Cox told Grown In, “We are diligently working with these licensees and have granted extensions as needed for any legitimate delays.”
In June, Cox told Grown In there were 38 deactivated licenses. Last week Cox reported 31. Cox did not provide an explanation for the decrease, or a breakdown of what types were deactivated. As of October 1, DHSS reports 34 of 60 awarded cultivation licenses are approved to operate.
“I am very concerned about the lack of apparent license redistribution. The delays are only hurting patients. I also have yet to hear what really qualifies as a legitimate delay,” said Eric McSwain, Chairman of the Missouri Cannabis Industry Association. “This approach is hurting the wallets of patients badly in need of medical marijuana via an artificially induced lack of supply in the regulated market.”
“Missouri has opened more cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and dispensary facilities this past year alone, than many states, including Illinois, have in total. This progress is even more impressive because it happened despite a once-in-a-lifetime supply chain shortage for construction materials and equipment,” said MoCannTrade executive director Andrew Mullens in a statement.
While Illinois has lagged in opening new cultivators due to license limits, during the last seven months, Michigan has awarded cultivation licenses to 103 new companies.
“DHSS has generally done a good job of following the letter and spirit of the law,” said Dan Viets, NORML Attorney and Chair of the Article XIV Campaign in 2018. “If they don’t reassign these licenses pretty quickly, they’re violating the constitution and somebody’s gonna sue them. Some disappointed license applicant that’s already litigating. I know there’s lots of folks out there that are very anxious for that opportunity.”