Proposed draft rules raise staffing concerns for dispensary operators

Proposed draft rules raise staffing concerns for dispensary operators


A proposed draft rule posted late last week would require Missouri dispensary operators to terminate current employees under the age of 21.

With the legalization of adult use marijuana, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has begun the process of modifying and amending current rules and creating new guidance to regulate both medical and recreational marijuana in the state.

While the program has successfully navigated retail sales for patients for more than two years, the change to adult use dictates that some new guidance and additional regulation will be necessary. But amid those necessary changes, the Department has included several additional regulations or changes to current rules that have industry operators raising questions.

One of the most significant changes for some dispensary operators involves specific language that would require all employees of licensed dispensaries to be 21 years of age or older.

Dispensary facility employees must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age.

The reason the language is concerning to current dispensary operators?

In 2021, The Department released new draft rules for dispensaries which included rules for the handling of clones, the implementation of warnings, and created language that would dictate how advertising was handled. Those rules were revised early in 2022. In both versions of the proposed rules, the Department specifies that employees of dispensaries must be 18 or older.

While those rules were never formally enacted, the industry and operators largely abided by the guidance of the proposed rules.


As such, if the new draft rule were to stand in its proposed form, dispensary operators who currently employ anyone under the age of 21 would be forced to terminate existing employees. Aside from losing existing members of their team – the change would be costly according to one dispensary operator.

“This new regulation would have us getting rid of an existing employee, then incurring the cost to go out and find new staff, go through the hiring process, train them, and get them up to speed all to replace someone we currently have on staff.”

Dispensary facilities appear to be the only facility type with a rule that would dictate a 21 and up age requirement for staff.

The Division of Cannabis Regulation released 18 draft documents containing between 1 and 14 pages last week. You can see a full list of documents and the draft rules of each here

The Department of Health and Senior Services Division of Cannabis Regulation responded to Greenway‘s inquiry regarding proposed draft language saying, “It is important to note that these rules are not final—they are only in draft form at this point. We will continue to work on these drafts and expect they will be revised before filing based on continuing research and public input. Any suggestions from the public on program implementation or rule drafting, including industry suggestions, will be reviewed starting as early as this week. Once rules are in final form, we’ll be working to address any questions that remain.”

For those looking to comment on the draft rules, you can submit feedback here,

The Department is also currently still accepting suggestions regarding Amendment 3 itself in order to craft regulation and draft rules. You can find that form here