Two medical marijuana dispensaries have been authorized by the state to operate in Christian County.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced licenses for 192 dispensaries across the state, 24 in each of the state’s eight congressional districts. Two of the 24 dispensaries in the Seventh District, which is made up of 10 counties, are in Christian County.
The state’s list of approved licenses includes Missouri Joint Ventures, LLC of Nixa, and Old Route 66 Wellness, LLC of Ozark.
The Ozark dispensary lists and address of West Highway J, near the interchange of State Route CC and U.S. Highway 65. The Nixa dispensary lists a location on West Street, just south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 160 and Missouri Highway 14.
Medical marijuana is not for sale yet, but the Department of Health and Senior Services plans to begin inspecting dispensaries as early as March 2020, which would open the door for the businesses to begin opening in the late spring.
By law, marijuana dispensaries are required to charge a 4 percent tax on the retail price of their products, plus all other applicable state and local taxes.
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services records show that the state denied seven dispensary license applications in Ozark and four applications from Nixa.
“Denials are issued for several reasons, including failure to meet minimum qualification, the results of an analysis for substantial common control, the results of application scoring, or application withdrawal,” the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website states.
On Nov. 6, 2018, Missouri voters passed Amendment 2 by popular vote, which established medical marijuana as a product that could be produced and sold in Missouri. More than 1.5 million voters cast “yes” votes for Amendment 2, securing 65.5 percent of the votes in the election.
The Nixa City Council voted to create zoning regulations for dispensaries and other businesses related to medical marijuana at a meeting June 24, 2019. All six of Nixa’s voting precincts had popular vote tallies in favor of Amendment 2, with a citywide average of 58.5 percent of voters in Nixa approving the adoption of medical marijuana.
The Nixa ordinance creates buffer zones of separation between medical marijuana businesses and schools, churches and daycare facilities. In Nixa, dispensaries must be no less than 1,000 feet from schools, 500 feet from licensed daycares and 250 feet from all churches.
However, per state law, no city may enact zoning regulations that are “unduly burdensome” in effort to zone out medical marijuana.
Onsite marijuana usage at a dispensary is prohibited under Nixa’s ordinance, which means marijuana may not be “smoked, ingested or otherwise consumed” unless authorized by state law and deemed necessary for the purposes of operating a licensed testing facility. As of now, there are no licensed testing facilities in Nixa, or in Christian County.
The Department of Health and Senior Services approved 60 cultivation licenses with an announcement on Dec. 26, and announced that 517 cultivation applications had been denied. Three applications from Nixa and one from Highlandville were among those denied.
The nearest lab testing facilities to Christian County are in Galena in Stone County and on North Grant Avenue in Springfield. The nearest approved transportation facility operator, CST Transportation, is in Walnut Grove in northwestern Greene County.
Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services received 2,163 online applications by the deadline of Aug. 19 from those hoping to obtain licenses from DHSS for cultivation, dispensary, manufacturing and testing laboratory facilities for the state’s medical marijuana program.
The application system received more than 1,200 applications in the final three days, including more than 800 applications in the final 24 hours. Thus far, DHSS has received more than $13 million in application fees from persons who want to be in the business of medical cannabis.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services used Colorado as a model to project that 2-3 percent of Missourians will be utilizing a medical marijuana card to obtain the drug, which equates to about 150,000 people—almost the estimated population of Springfield.