By Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2020

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri health officials on Friday posted the list of recipients of the first 192 licenses to operate medical marijuana dispensaries, bringing the state closer to joining the many others that allow at least some form of marijuana use.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services awarded 24 licenses in each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts, saying recipients were the top-scoring applicants that met the program’s eligibility requirements. The state received nearly 1,200 applications for dispensary licenses.

Voters made medical marijuana legal in November 2018, but because the drug must first be grown at approved sites and tested, sales aren’t expected to begin until this summer.

As of Tuesday, the health department had issued medical marijuana identification cards to 29,457 state residents and 820 to caregivers, the Kansas City Star reported.

Licenses for testing, transporting and growing facilities were issued in December. The winning applicant for seed-to-sale facility certifications will be announced Jan. 31.

Bianca Sullivan told the Star that her company, Fresh Green, won licenses for two dispensaries - one in Kansas City and another in Lee’s Summit.

“I was jumping up and down,” Sullivan said. “I jumped into my husband’s arms.”

Janette Hamilton, of St. Louis, got the bad news that regulators had denied the application from her company, TriCept Wellness. She told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the rejection was “very frustrating” because TriCept Wellness earned the 16th highest score in the 1st Congressional District, but lower-scoring applicants were licensed.

Hamilton said the state did not explain why her application was rejected.

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