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What You Need to Apply for a Cannabis License in Missouri

Legal tips if you’re opening a dispensary, grow operation—or otherwise

In November 2018, Missouri voters went to the polls and voted in favor of Amendment 2 by an overwhelming 66 to 34 margin for the legalization of medical marijuana.  The use, sale and regulation of marijuana for medical use is now permitted.

Among other things, the laws that followed this vote have resulted in the creation of a medical marijuana sales tax, a licensing program, and regulatory structure for marijuana-industry businesses operating in the state. Below, you will find an overview of the most important things you need to know about applying for a Missouri cannabis license. 

An Overview of Marijuana Facility Licenses

The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS) is the state agency that is responsible for overseeing and regulating the application process for medical marijuana licensing in Missouri. There are four different types of commercial cannabis licenses available through the agency. Specifically, licenses are available for:

  • Medical marijuana cultivation facilities
  • Medical marijuana dispensary facilities
  • Medical marijuana manufacturing facilities
  • Medical marijuana transporters

It is possible that your company may need to complete applications for any combination of these licenses and, potentially, a company many need to hold all of them at once.

Leaving aside medical marijuana transporters, which are governed by somewhat different licensure rules, applicants seeking the other three types of licenses are required to complete and submit seventeen different worksheets. From there, each applicant is then required to complete an additional application form designed for their specific type of operation.

How to Prepare an Application for Medical Cannabis Business License

Opening up a marijuana business in Missouri is far more complicated than is opening up most other types of businesses. There are many regulatory hurdles. For reference, most of the information sought by state regulators pertains to following:

  • The personal background of the corporate officers and managers of the business
  • The professional background of the corporate officers and managers of the business
  • The ownership structure of the company
  • The business plan of the company
  • The finances of the company
  • Information about zoning, real estate, and other facility-based issues

In preparing a cannabis license application in Missouri, you should be ready to prove that you and your partners are of good character, you have a viable business plan, your business plan takes into consideration public health issues, and your company is properly capitalized and fully insured. As an example of how the application works, refer to MM Facility Worksheet 6, which requires applicants to provide proof of insurance. 

If the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services finds any issues with your application, it could deny you a marijuana license outright. The best way to protect your investment is to prepare your application with a Missouri business law attorney who has experience with complex regulatory issues and corporate formation.

For more information on this area of law, see our overview of cannabis law.

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