EAST PRAIRIE, Mo. (KFVS) - Missouri received more than 2,000 applications for medical marijuana licenses and approximately 90 percent of those applications came in the last few days before the deadline.
“We knew there was enthusiasm, but this certainly substantiated the amount of people that want to be involved in the new industry," said Lyndall Fraker, the Director of the Section of Medical Marijuana Regulation for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “We’re very pleased. Again because of the amounts that came in that were well, well over what we expected.”
They received a total of 2,163 applications, and approximately 1,933 of those applications rolled in the last few days before the deadline, which officials extended from August 16 to 19.
“So many people were having questions and asking for help that we needed to do that and be here on Monday to do that in the last hours. And it certainly proved to be correct,” said Fraker.
One of the applicants is Rex Burney, who hopes to manufacture medical marijuana in an empty warehouse in East Prairie.
“We’ve had to go through security companies, lighting companies, irrigation companies. It’s been a long process to get everything in line to get to this day,” said Burney.
He’s up against more than 2,000 applicants for 384 licenses. So right now, he and his potential space are in limbo.
“Your chances are limited at this point, so we’re just waiting to see if we get the luck of the draw,” he said.
He said the high interest shows the need for medical marijuana, so it’s worth it to take that chance.
“There’s a lot of push-back against medical marijuana. And the way I look at it, if I help one child with seizures or one old person or one cancer patient, it’s worth all the flack that we’ll get," said Burney.
Fraker anticipates it will take a while to review all the applications. He said there will be an opportunity for some applicants to correct things state officials feel need corrections. After that, the applications will be sent to a third-party company to be scored.
According to Fraker, the state received more than $13 million from application fees. That money will go towards needs for the medical marijuana program and then to a veterans’ fund.