Operating under names like Green Releaf Dispensary and CoMo Gro, 25 businesses and individuals have paid thousands of dollars in application fees for the chance to operate a medical marijuana facility in Columbia.
Entrepreneurs filed paperwork and paid fees to apply for 22 dispensary licenses, six cultivation licenses and three manufacturing licenses in Columbia, according to records from the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services.
The hopefuls looking to enter the marijuana market include businesses already involved in cannabis-related retail in the city, such as American Shaman and Grass Roots Smoke Shop, as well as newcomers to the industry. Fifteen of the applicants had Columbia mailing addresses.
Two people — Shruti Patel and Adam Fuchs — have filed paperwork seeking to operate all three types of facilities in Columbia. Neither could be reached for comment Wednesday.
Businesses will not be able to file formal applications to sell marijuana until Aug. 3, but more than 500 people statewide have already paid their application fee in advance of the application date.
Paying the fee — $6,000 for dispensary and manufacturer applications and $10,000 for cultivator applications — is the first step toward competing for a share of the lucrative medical marijuana business in Missouri, which could grow into a $480 million a year industry, according to the Missouri Cannabis Industry Association.
The state has already collected $3.9 million in application fees and is expected to begin licensing businesses by the end of the year.
Current medical marijuana rules allow licenses for 192 dispensaries, 86 infused-product facilities and 60 cultivation facilities, which would be dispersed across eight regions in the state, as reported by the Missourian.
The list of people and businesses