On June 6th, 2023, the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services released the much-anticipated application for an Adult-Use Cannabis Microbusiness License. For those who have been waiting to enter the Missouri cannabis market since the initial round of licenses in 2019–2020, now is the time to get a head start on each aspect of the application process as the Department will begin accepting applications between July 27th – August 10th, 2023.
So, what is a “Microbusiness License” under Missouri law?
A microbusiness is a marijuana facility license that are essentially “small businesses” that are designed to allow eligible marginalized or under-represented individuals to participate in the legal marijuana market. There are two (2) types of Microbusinesses eligible applicants can apply for:
- Microbusiness Wholesale Facility
- Microbusiness Dispensary Facility
As a Microbusiness Wholesale Facility, licensees will be able to cultivate up to 250 flowering plants, as well as process, manufacture, and transport products. Further, as a Microbusiness Dispensary Facility, licensees will be able to process, package, deliver, and sell to microbusiness facilities, patients, and consumers. However, both Microbusiness licenses are limited to only conducting business transactions with other Microbusinesses.
How do I know if I am eligible to apply?
Pursuant to the Missouri Constitution, Microbusinesses must be majority owned by individuals who meet one (1) of the eligibility requirements set forth below:
- Have a net worth of less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) and have had an income below two hundred fifty percent (250%) of the federal poverty level, or a successor level, as set forth in the applicable calendar year’s federal poverty income guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or its successor agency, for at least three (3) of the ten (10) calendar years prior to applying for a microbusiness license;
- Have a valid service-connected disability card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, or successor agency;
- Be a person who has been, or a person whose parent, guardian, or spouse has been arrested for, prosecuted for, or convicted of a non-violent marijuana offense at least one (1) year prior to the effective date of this section, unless the conviction—
- Involved provision of marijuana to a minor; or
- Was for driving under the influence of marijuana;
- Reside in a ZIP code or census tract area where—
- Thirty percent (30%) or more of the population lives below the federal poverty level; or
- The rate of unemployment is fifty percent (50%) higher than the state average rate of unemployment; or
- The historic rate of incarceration for marijuana-related offenses is fifty percent (50%) higher than the rate for the entire state; or
- Graduated from a school district that was unaccredited, or had a similar successor designation, at the time of graduation, or has lived in a ZIP code containing an unaccredited school district, or similar successor designation, for three (3) of the past five (5) years.
For the above eligibility requirements, do I have to be a resident of Missouri? No. According to our communications with the Department, there are “no restrictions on which state the proof of eligibility must come from in order to qualify for this application type.” However, those interested in applying should ensure that the out-of-state documentation they are utilizing to apply is comparable to the documentation requested by the Department under the eligible prong.
Do I need a physical facility/location before applying?
Yes. Interested applicants will need to provide the proposed facility address in their application for submission.
Are there any general locality restrictions?
Yes. Under Missouri law, local governments are granted the authority to prohibit dispensaries within their jurisdiction. In addition, one’s facility must be at least 1,000 ft. away from an elementary school or secondary school, child daycare center, or church. Additional guidelines on how to measure the distance from your facility is set forth in the law.
How will I be selected to win?
The Department will be utilizing a lottery selection to choose each Microbusiness licensee.
Is Missouri’s Microbusiness License application process competitive? Although the Department will be using a lottery to selection their awardees, Microbusinesses will be limited to six (6) in each of the eight (8) Missouri congressional districts, for a total for forty-right (48) to be awarded in each round. Of the six (6) in each district, four (4) will be Microbusiness Wholesale Facilities and two (2) will be Microbusiness Dispensary Facilities. After the third and final round (estimated to be conducted in May 2025), there will be a total of one hundred and forty-four (144) Microbusiness licenses.
Are there any Microbusiness License ownership restrictions? Yes. A person may apply and obtain only one (1) license to operate a Microbusiness facility. Missouri’s Comprehensive licenses do not carry the same restrictions.
How much is the application and annual license fee for a Microbusiness license?
The application fee is $1,500 and the annual license fee is $1,500.
Before I move forward with this endeavor, what is the Department’s timeline?
- Application for Microbusiness Opens June 6, 2023
- Acceptance Period July 27–Aug. 10, 2023
- Issue Microbusiness Licenses October 2023
- Issue Additional 48 Microbusiness Licenses July 2024
- Issue Additional 48 Microbusiness Licenses May 2025
If you are interested in applying for a lucrative Missouri Cannabis Microbusiness License, now is the time to work with a Team of experts to begin strategizing your plan in entering Missouri’s booming marijuana market. Contact us today to discuss your options!