Three Missouri dispensaries are vying to be first to sell medical marijuana. One is based in Springfield. – News-Leader

CLOSE Story Highlights It’s been 22 months since Missouri voters opted for medical cannabis. Three Missouri companies got final state approval to open their dispensaries in recent days. One company, Old Route 66 Wellness, is at I-44 and Glenstone, with a second location planned in Ozark.

Could Springfield be the first place in Missouri with a fully functioning marijuana dispensary?

Dispensary co-owner Juan “John” Lopez says it could happen, citing an unspecified deal with one of the state’s first lawful marijuana-growing operations.

Dispensaries opening is the latest chapter in Missouri’s legal marijuana story. Commercial grow operations began to come online in June, as the News-Leader reported earlier. According to state health department records, three cannabis cultivation centers are now open for business, with seven more grow facilities soon to face “commencement inspections” by state health officials before they get a thumbs-up to begin operating normally.

Four retail dispensaries were recently approved to operate, with nine more in the immediate pipeline for inspections.

“We’ll definitely be one of the first open in the state, if not the first,” Lopez told the News-Leader last week. “We’ll definitely be the first in southwest Missouri.”

More: Here is a status update on Springfield-area medical marijuana dispensaries

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John Lopez, owner of Old Route 66 Wellness, explains the security measures at the front entrance of the medical marijuana dispensary.  (Photo: Andrew Jansen/News-Leader)

Lopez’s outfit is called Old Route 66 Wellness, a facility at the corner of I-44 and Glenstone Avenue.

The building used to be a Japanese-style steakhouse with bad Yelp reviews. Now it’s transformed, with the spaces in the parking lot outlined by a jaunty shade of cannabis green. Marijuana leaves will decorate

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