Missouri’s medical marijuana program awarded the first group of facility licenses on Thursday. Ten testing locations received approval to begin preparing for final state inspections before operations begin this spring.
Testing facilities are responsible for testing all of the cannabis in the state. They will test the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component found in the drug.
Facilities will also ensure there are no foreign substances or bacteria present.
The constitutional amendment that allowed medical marijuana in Missouri said the state needed to approve “at least two entities as Medical Marijuana Testing Facilities.” Lyndall Fraker, who is in charge of Missouri’s program, said the state decided to award 10 to handle the influx of cannabis from across the state.
“If you put only two testing facilities in the whole state, it might be too much of a burden to be able to test all the product for 338 facilities that would be involved,” he said.
Those who will be in charge of testing the medical marijuana will be required to travel to dispensaries and cultivation sites, or will need to receive separate transportation licenses to be able to transport the drug throughout the state.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the state agency responsible for regulating the industry, received 17 applications for testing facilities. Each application underwent “blind scoring” by a third-party vendor, Wise Health Solutions.
Two St. Louis companies are among those awarded licenses. EKG Life Science Solutions, which plans to open a location at 4633 World Parkway Circle, earned the third-highest score out of all applications. Cloud TEN, which lists its location at 10854 Midwest Industrial Blvd., got the 10th license.
Each facility has five days to confirm the acceptance of its license. Being awarded a license does not mean a facility is eligible to begin operations; each one will need to pass final state inspections first.
Seven applications were denied. According to the DHSS website, denials are issued for several reasons. Failure to meet minimum requirements, the results of application scoring, and application withdrawals are reasons for a denial.
Green Precision Analytics in Kansas City and Paradox in St. Joseph were both denied but received scores that were higher than at least two facilities that were awarded licenses.
A full list of the facilities that were approved can be found here.
Follow Jaclyn on Twitter: @DriscollNPR.
Send questions and comments about this story to email@example.com.