How to Open a Dispensary in missouri


Do you want to learn how to open a dispensary in Missouri? On this page, we’ll keep you up to date on the most recent news and information about starting a cannabis business in Missouri. This includes valuable insights into what the state is likely to face in the future.

While medical marijuana is permitted in Missouri, recreational marijuana use is not. Cannabis for recreational use represents a massive business opportunity with tremendous growth potential. Depending on the outcome of the 2022 signature drive, Missouri may be the next state to legalize marijuana.

A number of groups are pushing for Missouri to allow recreational marijuana use. Pro-marijuana organizations Legal Missouri 22 and Fair Access Missouri have submitted initiative petitions in the hope of garnering enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Republican Rep. Shamed Dogan has also pre-filed HJR 83 legislation to submit the subject before voters.

On March 31st, Missouri’s House of Representatives approved a bill that will legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana. The Cannabis Freedom Act passed the House Public Safety Committee 5-4 with amendments. As of May 9th, the bill is placed on the Informal Perfection Calendar (H).  

On May 8th, Legal Missouri 2022 submitted more than 385,000 signatures to the state, as the chances of passing change in the legislature have dimmed. To submit the subject to a vote, they will need 171,592 of those submissions to be validated. Assuming the secretary of state rules that enough valid petitions were submitted by the ballot campaign to qualify the initiative, Missourians will be able to vote on legalizing marijuana in November 2022. 

The Opportunity Size

The 2020 Marijuana Business Factbook says that by 2024, the MMJ market in Missouri will be worth between $525 million and $650 million. In another study by Grand View Research, Inc., the Missouri medical cannabis market is expected to be worth $102.4 million in 2026 and grow at a CAGR of 22.0 percent over the next few years.

Local Cannabis Restrictions & Laws

When considering opening a cannabis business in Missouri, one of the critical factors to consider is location. Under Amendment 2, local governments may not stop people from setting up marijuana businesses in their area, but they can set up rules like operating hours and fines. Marijuana facilities cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare center, or church unless they are allowed by the neighborhood.

Missouri has local jurisdictions that have passed laws and resolutions that make it legal for people to have small amounts of marijuana. Columbia, Kansas City, Maplewood, St. Louis, and Webster Groves are cities that have decriminalized marijuana through either voter initiatives or city council laws.

Medical Marijuana

On November 6, 2018, Missourians voted to legalize the use of medical marijuana for qualified patients who have a doctor’s certificate. Amendment 2 passed with 65.5 percent of the vote.

On December 6, 2018, the law came into effect. During late 2019 and early 2020, the state began giving licenses to dispensaries, labs, growers, and producers. Missouri was able to get its medical marijuana program up and running within 23 months instead of the national average of 29 months.

With the permission of a doctor, a person who has been diagnosed with Cancer, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, or another covered medical condition may be able to get medical marijuana. 

The number of medicinal marijuana patients enrolled in Missouri continues to rise on a steady basis. According to state records, there were more than 160,000 qualifying patients, 3,000 caregivers, and 300 facilities by the end of 2021.

Medical Marijuana Program Opportunities

The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) in Missouri is in charge of making sure that the market structure is set up to meet the legal demand for medical marijuana as well as regulating and controlling medical marijuana facilities.

There are six types of business licenses for medical marijuana businesses in Missouri: dispensary license, cultivation license, infused product manufacturing license, laboratory testing license, transportation license, and seed to sale license.

Medical Marijuana Facility Application 

Only transportation and seed-to-sale applications are presently available. These will be accepted by DHSS indefinitely. Transportation applications will be filed via the Missouri Medical Marijuana Registry Portal, a secure, online system. For seed-to-sale applications and instructions on how to apply, go to their online application page

Recreational Use Legalization

Voters in Missouri may soon determine whether the state will become the latest to legalize recreational marijuana. Presently, there are two distinct organizations working to get legalization initiatives on the 2022 Missouri ballot. There is also a legislative proposal to make the change happen. The minimum number of signatures necessary to get initiatives on the ballots of the general elections in 2022 is 171,592.

  • Legal MO 2022 

On August 27, 2021, Legal Missouri 22 filed an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. On December 1, 2021, the campaign for Legal Missouri 2022 officially began. 

If approved, people over the age of 21 would be able to buy, possess, and use marijuana. The initiative would also expand the state’s medical marijuana program, set up a system to regulate and tax recreational cannabis, and expunge and release nonviolent marijuana offenders.

New business licenses for 144 new cannabis businesses will be given out in a lottery, with 66% going to growers and 33% going to medical marijuana dispensaries.

  • Fair Access

Fair Access Missouri filed a separate initiative on September 1, 2021. The Missouri Secretary of State has given approval for Fair Access Missouri’s initiative petition to circulate. This indicates that the process of collecting signatures is underway.

This grassroots alliance of Missourians is fighting for an open market, low taxes, and fewer obstacles to entry. Cannabis will be regulated in the same way that every other legal company in Missouri is regulated.

An independent regulatory body would be established to regulate the market, and an unlimited number of licenses in Missouri may be secured for any adult-use cannabis facility type.

  • HJR 83 by Republican Rep. Shamed Dogan 

On December 1, 2021, representative Shamed Dogan (R) pre-filed HJR 30 to put a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for adult use on the ballot.

Adults 21 and older would be able to buy, possess, and produce cannabis for their own personal use under the proposed legislation. Individuals who are jailed for nonviolent marijuana-only crimes will be freed immediately.

There will be no restrictions on the number of dispensaries that may operate, and facility licensing will be handled entirely by local and county authorities, with the state remaining totally out of the picture.

  • Cannabis Freedom Act

The “Cannabis Freedom Act” proposed by Rep. Ron Hicks (R), would enable people 21 and older to buy and possess cannabis from licensed retailers. Adults would also be allowed to grow up to 12 plants for their own use.

The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services would be in charge of overseeing the adult-use program. The department would have to create guidelines for issuing licenses to cannabis retailers, processors, producers, transporters, and wholesale distributors.

There are a lot of events going on in Missouri that could change when and how recreational marijuana is legalized. We will keep you up to date on how to open a dispensary in Missouri and all the important news, including the news that isn’t so easy to find. You can sign up for our Missouri Cannabis Mailing List by filling out the form below.

This includes but is not limited to

  • When will new cannabis license applications be available?
  • How much will it cost to open a dispensary in Missouri?
  • What are the requirements to open a dispensary in Missouri?
  • What special programs will be available?
  • And more

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