Missouri’s cannabis regulators detail plans for licensing microbusinesses
When voters approved Amendment 3 in November 2022, one of the tasks assigned to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) was to create a lottery process for granting a limited number of new small business licenses called “microbusinesses.” Microbusinesses are marijuana facility licenses issued only to eligible entities and individuals, and are designed to allow marginalized or under-represented individuals to participate in the legal marijuana market.
There are two types of microbusiness licenses: dispensary and wholesale. A microbusiness dispensary facility is licensed to engage in the process of dispensing marijuana product for medical or adult use. A microbusiness wholesale facility is licensed to engage in the process of cultivating and/or manufacturing marijuana product for medical or adult use.
The constitution requires DHSS to begin accepting microbusiness applications by September, but in order to better serve microbusiness applicants in this new process, DHSS will begin accepting applications early: the application window for the first round of microbusiness licenses will be July 27 – August 10, 2023. Application forms and instructions will be available by June 6. In October, DHSS will issue, via random lottery drawing, six microbusiness licenses in each of the eight Missouri congressional districts, for a total of 48 microbusiness licenses. Of the six in each district, two will be microbusiness dispensaries, and four will be wholesale facilities.
The constitution prohibits submission of more than one application per drawing. Therefore, an individual or entity may only be listed on one application, regardless of the amount of ownership interests. This limitation ensures everyone who applies has an equal chance at a microbusiness license.
To ensure the integrity of the random drawing, the Missouri Lottery will conduct the drawing without reference to the identities of the applicants using certified software to produce random results.
For more information about microbusiness licensing and application requirements, visit Cannabis.Mo.Gov.
Consumer Safety & Education
While the adult-use cannabis program was built based on guidelines approved by Missouri voters, DHSS, as the state’s public health authority, asks consumers to consume cannabis with caution. Adult consumers are encouraged to review the health effects of cannabis prior to consuming. Some important points of caution include the following:
- Individuals should not use cannabis if pregnant as doing so may harm the baby’s health.
- Individuals should not operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana. This remains illegal and dangerous as driving requires a person’s full attention to stay safe and alert. Marijuana can slow one’s reaction time and ability to make decisions, impair coordination and distort one’s perception.
- Adult consumers should ensure products are not accessible to those under age 21. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the teen brain is actively developing and continues to develop until around age 25. Marijuana use during adolescence and young adulthood may harm the developing brain.
- Edibles, or food and drink products infused with marijuana, have some different risks than smoked marijuana, including a greater risk of poisoning. Unlike smoked marijuana, edibles can:
- Take from 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect, so some people may eat too much, which can lead to poisoning and/or serious injury.
- Cause intoxicating effects that last longer than expected, depending on the amount ingested, the last food eaten, and medications or alcohol used at the same time.
- Children, adults and pets can mistake marijuana products, particularly edibles, for regular food or candy. Consuming marijuana can make children very sick. They may have problems walking or sitting up or may have a hard time breathing. If you have concerns of possible poisoning, call the Missouri Poison Center at 800-222-1222, or 911 if it is an emergency.