COLUMBIA – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services first started issuing licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries in January of 2020.
Many of those dispensaries began to open in fall of the same year.
But the DHSS rejected the overwhelming majority of medical marijuana dispensary license applicants. That’s because the state set a limit for how many licenses it can give out.
Now, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the department is spending millions in legal fees to defend its decisions to deny applicants.
That takes away from tax revenues supposed to go to the Missouri Veterans Commission, which is why some think the department should just remove the license cap. But the chief operating officer of a Columbia dispensary disagrees.
“Oregon and Oklahoma have an open market, and it’s not a very good setup for the industry,” Michael LaFrieda said. LaFrieda is the chief operating officer for Shangri-La Dispensary.
LaFrieda has previous experience in the industry in Nevada, and said understanding the market and surplus of products is necessary to ensure the health of the industry.
“192 dispensary licenses in Missouri was already quite a bit, and currently — and I might be slightly off on that — probably roughly 25 percent of those