Plans revving up for Cassville dispensary

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Licenses being reviewed by state

Applications for medical marijuana dispensary licenses have been sent out and are now pending approval, and in Cassville, Dr. Lisa Roark applied for a dispensary license, and Holistic Missouri applied for a cultivation license, as well as an infused product manufacturing license.

Roark is a Cassville resident and owns a health clinic in the city. Holistic Missouri is a branch of Holistic Industries, which is based out of California.

The 192 dispensary, 60 cultivation and 86 manufacturing licenses will be granted based on what the state of Missouri Health Department decides, and applicants will be either approved or decided by Dec. 31.

A list of 10 qualifications must be met for the applicants of a medical marijuana business license to be approved.

Roark has spent months preparing the community and educating people of all aspects of the medical marijuana process. Roark is pro-medical marijuana and aims to generate a second business a medical marijuana dispensary, separate from her clinic in town.

Holistic Industries said in an email it is holding out on sharing information about the company for now.

“While we are interested in sharing more with you about the company, we’re also still early in the planning process and think reconnecting at the end of the year when we have more to share is the best course of action,” the email said.

Roark said patient care and local growth are her main focuses when dealing with local businesses.

“I am only doing the dispensary, and what I will most likely do is work with Ozark Mountain Green out of Shell Knob,” she said. “They applied for just cultivation and manufacturing, all organic and really, they are just local, normal people.”

Roark’s intent on working with Ozark Mountain Green all depends on who gets the licenses.

“If it all works out, they will supply me with the cannabis that I need to run a dispensary,” she said. “This is home, it is important to me to keep things local. Number one, I want someone I can trust, and I know them — they are actual people with a face, not just an industry name. In addition to that, I want the jobs and revenues to go to our people.”

Roark said there are plenty of local jobs that will be created, and that only benefits the Cassville and Barry County community.

“I shop locally as much as I possibly can, and I think it is important to support our local businesses,” she said. “There are a lot of people from out of state that have lots of money, and they can come in and put a cultivation center in anywhere they want to, and it is no hair off their backs.

“Local people, however, are working hard and putting everything on the line to do this, and those are the people with heart and soul and who I know I can trust.”

For Roark, it all comes down to who has the best for the patients in mind.

“For a dispensary, I would expect 10-15 jobs to be created,” she said. “I would expect in Shell Knob, [if Ozark Mountain Green gets their license,] to gain another 100 jobs.”

Those jobs are going to be filled with local people, and they have the same ideas as far as patients before profit, Roark said.

“What I have done in my clinic and what I plan to do in my dispensary, which is always patients before profit,” she said. “Holistic Industries is out of California and it is not a local company. That was part of it, licensees have to be majority owned by a Missouri resident.”

There will be a booth set up at the Cassville Chili Cook-off, just to help educate people more on the medical marijuana topic.

“I know people, and they want to [have answers],” she said. “They ask me still if I am building the dispensary onto the clinic. The answer is no, I will have two separate businesses.”

The location of Roark’s medical marijuana dispensary will be at 460 State Highway 76.

“We had a fitness center there, but it is pretty much empty,” she said. “We will start working on remodeling it for the dispensary.”

The Department of Health has until Dec. 31 to approve or deny all applications.

“So, if they take all the time they are allowed, the end of December is when we will know for sure,” she said. “I would say early spring will be the time frame that we have product in the dispensary.

“However, the Department of Health has been very open to the idea of licensing the cultivation and manufacture companies first, which will expedite the process, and we could potentially have product in January or February.”

Roark said she received the same kind of shock from people when she opened her clinic.

“They would say, ‘What? You’re going to do something completely different in a tiny, rural area? This is never going to work,’” she said. “But, I said I was confident that it would work, and it did. People love the clinic.”

Roark said she doesn’t imagine that having a second business will change much for her as far as working less hours in the clinic.

“I don’t think it will make any difference at all,” she said. “I have hired a really great management team, of all local people, who each have their own strengths. I expect that they will be able to 99.9 percent run the business completely with the same ideals that are important to me.”

Roark said she will be available in case there are any patient-specific questions.

“Honestly, I would do that anyway, even if it wasn’t my business,” she said. “I want the patients to have the best care possible.”

Roark would like to highlight the fact that the dispensary will be completely separate from the clinic.

“Separate buildings, and separate employees,” she said. “There will never be any cannabis in the clinic.”

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