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Missouri awards first medical marijuana business licenses to 10 testing facilities

Missouri awards first medical marijuana business licenses to 10 testing facilities

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An employee at an Ohio medical marijuana cultivator works on topping a marijuana plant.

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri on Thursday awarded the first state licenses for medical marijuana businesses to 10 companies that will conduct safety and potency tests of marijuana products. 

The license winners were the highest scoring among 17 applicants to the Department of Health and Senior Services, the state agency responsible for regulating medical marijuana. The applicants were scored in a blind process before the licenses were awarded. 

One St. Louis company is among the winners: EKG Life Science Solutions, LLC, which plans to open a testing facility at 4633 World Parkway Circle. The group placed third among the 10 winners, according to a ranking posted to the DHSS website

The testing facilities will determine levels of THC in marijuana products and screen them for any foreign matter or dangerous bacteria, according to DHSS. 

State law required DHSS to license at least two testing facilities, but regulators announced earlier this year they would license 10 statewide to ensure "Missouri patients have access to the best medical marijuana products available," said Lyndall Fraker, director of the state's medical marijuana regulation program, in a news release. 

Sale of medical marijuana was approved by voters in 2018 and sales are expected to begin in the spring.

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Reporter covering breaking news and crime by night. Born in Algeria but grew up in St. Louis. Previously reported for The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi and at the Wichita Eagle in Wichita, Kansas.

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