ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Medical marijuana is on its way to Missouri. In less than three months, patients who qualify can start applying to receive it.
However, turning an illegal market into something legitimate means big business. So what's the guarantee there won't be corruption or abuse?
“I have a job to do and we have a constitution to uphold, and we have the citizens of Missouri to protect and their health and welfare and we will do our best with that,” said Lyndall Fraker, Director of Missouri’s Medical Marijuana program, within the Department of Health.
Fraker has been dealing with tight deadlines that were outlined in the law passed by voters in November 2018.
Though specific in parts, the law left a lot of gray area, leaving Fraker's team to set up detailed rules and regulations.
The former lawmaker from a small town in southwest Missouri says he's leaving his personal feelings out of it.
“Certainly there are some things we might not like about it that we would have done differently if we had done it in the legislature when I was a member. Its what we have and we are going to do our best with it,” he said.
A former manager of his local Walmart, he has no experience in the marijuana industry. He told News 4’s Lauren Trager that he had no dog in the hunt and that was by design.
“My experience as a manager of one of the biggest retailer companies of the world, I think we are building a little company, here, a management team, and not necessarily looking at the THC content of the product,” he said.
But businesses who get licenses to grow, test, manufacture and sell the products stand to possibly make millions.
When asked about people worried about the potential for abuse, Fraker says his intentions are to avoid it.
“Certainly understandable, but as long as I am in charge, I am hopeful that won't happen and we don't intend for that to happen in any form or fashion,” Fraker said.
Tuesday, his agency announced that the application process for businesses will be blind, meaning those deciding who will get coveted licenses won't know the names of the applicants.
Fraker says he wants the process to be fair.
The state is looking to hire a third party to help them decide who will get the business licenses.
It will be a scoring system that will consider things like site security, economic impact on the community and even the character of the owners.
That process is very different from the process for patients, of course. Who will get patient cards will largely be left up to doctors.
You can find more information about medical marijuana in Missouri here.