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Missouri approves Heartland facilities to cultivate, deliver medical marijuana

Updated: Dec. 23, 2019 at 10:31 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - This week more than 80 new businesses joined Missouri’s growing medical marijuana industry, and some are sprouting up right here in the Heartland.

The day after Christmas, the Department of Health and Senior Services released a list of 60 cultivation facilities that can start legally growing cannabis next year.

Hundreds of hopeful businesses applied and more than 40 applications came from Southeast Missouri.

Four facilities were approved in Perryville, one in Caruthersville, and one in Chaffee.

On Monday Dec. 23 DHSS also certified 21 Missouri companies to legally deliver medical marijuana to a patient’s door, including three in the Heartland.

Both cultivators and transporters can also deliver cannabis products to other licensed facilities.

This also means thousands of new Missouri jobs but businesses are required to know the risks and how to keep products safe while on the road.

Michael Allen is the CEO of 5th Meridian Group, one of the approved medical marijuana transporters based in Cape Girardeau.

"I think this is right for Missouri and its coming at a right time for Missouri. For both the patients and the people that may want to work in this field."

The Veteran owned organization installs surveillance cameras, provides on-site security officers, and skilled drivers who transport medical marijuana between cultivation centers, dispensaries, and production and infusion centers.

“Anytime you have a high value product and cash assets in the same area or being transported at the same time your risk profile increases," Allen said. "We’re keenly aware of that. We hire staff that is experienced in working around dangerous whether it be a prior law enforcement officer or a fellow veteran.”

Allen said they can also deliver products from a dispensary directly to a card-carrying patients home by meeting the same high standards of safety and security.

“The vehicles have to be unmarked and GPS tracked," Alled said. "They have to have camera systems that constantly monitor the driver, the passenger and any cargo area. We have two ways of communication with the vehicle at all times. When the product is on the road, it’s being watched very closely.”

According to the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, the entire industry will generate between $500 million and $1 billion in just the first year, officially license close to 350 businesses, and create more than 4,000 direct jobs and over 8,000 indirect jobs.

“This will bring a lot of jobs to Missouri," Allen said. "For us we currently have 12 on staff. We’ll hire more as we retain more agreements with cultivation centers and licensed facilities.”

Allen said medical marijuana deliveries in Missouri will likely start in early April, after all the facilities are up and running.

The state health department will release a full list of dispensaries toward the end of January 2020.

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