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Missouri Updates and New Licensing Opportunities

By Colleen Mitchell

Feb 14, 2024

Missouri’s legal cannabis market has been gradually expanding since the state legalized medical cannabis in 2018 and adult-use cannabis in 2022. There are currently 214 licensed dispensary facilities, 66 licensed cultivation facilities, and 88 licensed infused product manufacturing facilities, the vast majority of which are now “comprehensive” facilities permitted to produce and/or sell both medical and adult-use cannabis.

In December 2022, as required by the adult-use ballot initiative, the Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation announced plans to issue a total of 144 adult-use microbusiness licenses over three years, with 48 adult-use microbusiness licenses issued in October 2023, another 48 licenses issued in the summer of 2024, and an additional 48 issued in spring of 2025. Applicants must meet the state’s microbusiness eligibility criteria to apply and can only submit one application per applicant. Winning applications are chosen via a random drawing conducted by the Missouri Lottery.

The microbusiness licenses are issued per congressional district. Of the 48 licenses issued each year, six licenses are available in each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts. Of each six, two will be microbusiness dispensaries, and four will be microbusiness wholesale facilities that combine both cultivation and processing operations. Of note, microbusiness dispensaries are only permitted to procure their inventory from microbusiness wholesalers, so the microbusiness supply chain is separate from that of the comprehensive licensees.

The first 48 microbusiness licenses were selected via a lottery on August 28, 2023, with licenses issued on October 4, 2023. However, of the 48 licenses granted in October, 11 were determined to be ineligible based on a subsequent review of their eligibility criteria and are subject to revocation (pending an administrative appeal process). In a report issued in December 2023, Missouri’s Chief Equity Officer indicated the revoked licenses would be added to the upcoming 2024 microbusiness lottery round.

According to a recent newsletter from the Division, tentatively, round 2 microbusiness applications will be accepted in March 2024, with licenses issued in July. Applicants must identify a property and submit compliant floor plans, disclose all owners with at least 10% economic interest, submit owner fingerprints for criminal background checks, and provide documentation that at least 51% of the ownership team meets the microbusiness eligibility criteria. See this microbusiness application checklist for more details on the application requirements.

It is never too early to start preparing for licensing by building your team, forming your business, applying for trademark protection, performing community outreach, finding real estate, and more! Please contact Jerrico Perez for assistance in achieving your goals in Missouri’s cannabis market.

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