Canna Bliss Owner on Dispensary Denial: “Pretty Devastating”

Local News

SPRINGFIELD — It’s a tough reality that around 1,000 business owners are facing today.

Applicants for dispensaries spent hundreds of hours, and thousands of dollars only to come up empty handed.

The Department of Health and Senior Services rolled out its list of business licenses awarded for medical marijuana dispensaries today.

Nearly 1,000 businesses like Canna Bliss in Springfield were denied the opportunity to open a dispensary. Owner Jamie Tillman says it was painful to get the bad news yesterday.

“We put in a total of five different applications: three in Springfield, one in Lebanon, and one with a partner in Bolivar, and we did get word yesterday that all five were conditionally denials,” says Tillman.

From the day medical marijuana was legalized in Missouri in November of 2018, Tillman and her team got right to work hoping to have her business bloom from just CBD, into one that would also offer cannabis products.

“It’s a lot. I don’t think people really respect the fact that, how much work and effort, and over a year worth of labor, for an email… to say you get a denial. So it was pretty devastating,” Tillman says.

They hired a firm to help with the application, paid a lawyer, and even bought a building on Battlefield to potentially accommodate the dream of a drive-thru dispensary, but that’s just the beginning of what Tillman sacrificed.

“I literally sold my house. I had a large house on a farm. I literally sold my farm to downsize. Being a single mom, I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle the dispensaries, and all the responsibilities. Our team spent $100,000 between all the different fees and applying for all of this,” Tillman explains.

Now the focus will be on continuing to run the business they already have.

She feels confident that CBD will always have a market for those who want a natural remedy, but don’t like the high that comes with cannabis. She’ll also focus on her supply business for those who want to home grow, but she hasn’t ruled out giving up on a dispensary just yet.

“If our scores are really high then we may consider an appeal, but at this point I’m not sure how much energy I have left to continue a fight,” Tillman says.

The money spent on application fees is non-refundable.

Article 14 of Amendment 2 indicates that after administrative costs for the medical marijuana program, any funds from application and renewal fees, as well as product sales tax, go to the Missouri Veterans Health and Care Fund.

To learn more about the dispensaries that were approved and denied, click here.

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