How To Open A Dispensary In Missouri

how to open a dispensary in missouri

Missouri has become the 33rd state in the United States to legalize medical cannabis. Recreational use of cannabis is still illegal in the state. Medical cannabis sales in Missouri have crossed $200 million since its legalization in October 2020. Let’s check the detailed explanation of How To Open A Dispensary In Missouri.

The rollout of dispensaries has been slow in the state due to the complex and stringent regulations. Such as:

  • The medical cannabis to be sold in Missouri must be grown in the state as well,
  • Dispensaries will have to pay taxes on the full amount of sales and not just the profits of sales.
  • Additional 4% sales tax on all medical cannabis products purchased in Missouri.

The medical cannabis amendment was passed in 2018, and the state has issued 192 dispensary licenses to date. Only 142 dispensaries have been able to set the shop up in the state.

Missouri residents who meet the following qualifying conditions can apply for a medical cannabis card:

  • Patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, severe migraine, or glaucoma are unresponsive to other treatments.
  • Chronic medical conditions.
  • Psychiatric medical conditions.

Unlike other eligible medical conditions, obtaining a medical marijuana card for mental health purposes necessitates an extra step. Patients must first be referred by their primary care physician, and then by a psychiatrist who has approved the use of medical cannabis for mental health concerns.

Interestingly, the Missouri state government transfers revenues to the Missouri Veterans Commission after expenses are paid. Till 2021, $2.1 million has been transferred over to veterans and the government is hoping to transfer bigger amounts with every passing year.

Recreational CannabisIts Legal

In November 2022, Missouri’s Amendment 3 passed the ballot, legalizing the purchase, possession, use, transport, manufacture, and sale of marijuana for personal use by individuals over the age of 21.

For the state’s upcoming adult-use cannabis sector, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has already issued the first version of rules on November 10, 2022, and has been granted license authority for marijuana cultivation, production, sale, or dispensing.

Existing medical marijuana licensees will be the first eligible for applying for comprehensive recreational licenses from December 2022, with sales scheduled to commence as soon as February 2023.

Although Missouri Amendment 3 allows the use of marijuana in residential properties, it is still prohibited to consume it in parks, on sidewalks, and in both private and public schools. Smoking marijuana is still prohibited in moving vehicles, and landlords can ask the tenants not to smoke within their properties. 

On June 6, 2023, Missouri’s Department of Health and Human Services will open applications for smaller cannabis businesses, or micro-businesses, marking the next step in the state’s legalization process.

Let us walk through the cannabis laws, license types and how to acquire them, tax rates, and much more in this blog post.

Can I Open a Dispensary in Missouri Right Now?

The state government is accepting applications from business owners.  Although municipalities across the state are receiving applications to open a dispensary in Missouri, but businesses must only sell cannabis grown in the state.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, 291 medical marijuana facilities have been allowed to operate in the state, including 174 dispensaries, 52 manufacturing facilities, and 39 cultivation facilities.

How Much Can You Buy?

Qualifying patients or their caregivers may purchase up to four ounces of dried, unprocessed marijuana, or its equivalent, in 30-days. If a patient requires more than this amount, two independent physician certifications stating the amount needed must be submitted with the patient application.

Current Cannabis Laws In Missouri

  • Individuals need valid medical cards to purchase cannabis from dispensaries.
  • Qualifying patients or their caregivers can purchase up to 4 ounces of dried, unprocessed cannabis from a dispensary, in a 30-day period.
  • Medical cannabis is legal only for registered patients.
  • Qualifying patients or their caregivers can cultivate up to 18 marijuana plants of which only 6 must be mature. The grower must possess a legal cultivation card issued by the Missouri DHSS.
  • The qualified patient must be above 18 years of age.
  • Dispensaries must sell marijuana and related products grown and manufactured in Missouri.
  • Individuals above 21 years of age can buy marijuana for recreational use.

Tax Rates in Missouri

Medical cannabis product sales at dispensaries are taxed at 4% under Missouri’s medicinal marijuana amendment to the state constitution.

For recreational purposes Missouri is going to charge 6% sales tax.

Current Cannabis Market in Missouri

According to a report by Grand View Research the Missouri medical cannabis market size was valued at USD 289.9 million in 2021. It is expected to expand at a CAGR of 22.8% from 2022 to 2030.

Cannabis Dispensary Start-Up Costs in Missouri 

The cost of starting a medicinal dispensary in Missouri is estimated to be between $85,000 and $150,000. This cost includes license, land acquisition, retail security, a compliant POS, wholesale product procurement, staff, taxes, and other dispensary-specific expenditures.

Types of Cannabis Licenses in Missouri

In Missouri, there can be no more than 192 licensed dispensaries. However, each of the eight state congregational districts will only be able to issue 24 licenses in total. Furthermore, each location is only permitted to issue one license. Within a year of receiving a certification license, your dispensary must pass the commencement inspection. Your license can be revoked if you don’t.

Penalties And Fines

It’s important to know the possible fines and penalties if you intend to start a dispensary in Missouri. The following penalties may be imposed by the DHSS: 

  • A $5,000 fine for products that aren’t packaged properly. Moreover, products could need to be recalled for repackaging at your expense.
  • Extraction of resins using gases or other flammable elements is punishable by a $10,000 fine if your facility does not have a MIP license.

Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility License

Medical cannabis facility business licenses are valid for a period of one year, beginning January 1 and ending December 31.

Cost of the License: $2,000.00 processing fee as well as a $17 charge for a Missouri criminal background check. An additional fee will be levied if an out-of-state background check is needed.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facility License

  • The number of medical marijuana dispensary facility business licenses awarded will be limited to one for every 20,000 people in the state.
  • After the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has granted its license for the medical cannabis dispensary, applications will be accepted for a period of twenty-one days. After the initial application filing period, all applications will be considered within 60 days. Applications submitted after the application filing time has ended will be evaluated depending on the availability of licenses.

Medical Marijuana-Infused Products Manufacturing Facility License

Manufacturing facilities whose applications are approved will be notified via email. Individuals who have created the User Account in the Medical Marijuana Registry Portal, the person listed as the Primary Contact in the application, and at least one other person listed in the application will receive notifications.

Application denial notices will be sent out as well. The person who created the User Account in the Medical Marijuana Registry Portal will get denial notices.

The 86 facilities that will receive their licenses will be the highest-scoring manufacturing facilities that meet all of the program’s eligibility standards.

Medical Marijuana Testing Facility License

Testing facilities are in charge of validating THC levels in cannabis products as well as screening for foreign matter and dangerous bacteria.

Within 150 days of the applicant’s complete submission, the department will approve or deny all complete applications received during the application time period. If the application status changes, the registered user will be notified through email.

How to Get a License to Open a Dispensary in Missouri

The Missouri state government is accepting applications for licenses for dispensaries, cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities. Be ready with all relevant documents and make no errors while filling out the application.   

Here’s what we know about how to open a dispensary in Missouri so far:

  • The applicant must have lived in Missouri for at least one year.  
  • Applicants must undergo an annual criminal history background check to acquire or renew a cannabis license.
  • Organize all corporate documents such as articles of incorporation, agreements, certificates of good standing, and others.
  • A good business plan.

Missouri Dispensary Fees

Type of FeeAmount
Non-refundable Application Fee$3,000
Annual License Renewal Fee$10,373.22

Requirements for Missouri Dispensary Licenses   

Here are some of the major requirements for obtaining a dispensary license in Missouri: 

  1. Criminal background check of the applicant and at least 3 manager-level employees
  2. A solid business plan
  3. A site security plan for staff and the community the dispensary serves.
  4. Economic Impact Report: applicants must showcase how their business will have a positive impact on the community i.e., jobs.
  5. Previous experience in healthcare.
  6. The applicant must have lived in Missouri for at least one year

Microbusiness License Timeline In 2023

The amendment also establishes a microbusiness lottery program for start-ups and smaller companies seeking to enter the industry. The DHSS could release the applications for these microbusiness licenses for dispensaries and wholesale facilities as early as June 2023, and it will begin accepting applications for microbusiness licenses in September 2023.

What Else Do You Need to Open a Dispensary in Missouri?

Step 1

Understand Cannabis Laws In Missouri

Each state’s cannabis regulations are unique, and they may differ from one area to the next in Missouri. So, when you apply for a marijuana license in Missouri, be sure you understand the laws and regulations so you can stay compliant and enhance your chances of getting your license approved.

Step 2

Create A Solid and Scalable Business Plan

A solid business plan can become your guide to success, so create a good one. It must include the following points to help you to establish your business and stay ahead of your competitors in the cannabis marketplace:

Competitive analysis 

It’s important to present an in-depth analysis of your competitors in addition to explaining the characteristics that set you apart from the competition.

This research should focus on your direct and indirect competitors’ operations, financials, history, leadership, and distribution methods. It should investigate the competitors’ value propositions and describe how you can compete with or exploit their strengths and flaws. 

Sales Strategy

This part should address how you want to sell the cannabis goods you are purchasing or manufacturing, as well as how you expect to carry out the services you aim to provide. Specificity is required in your sales plan. Calculate how many budtenders you’ll need to hire, as well as how you’ll find them and get them on board. Don’t forget to include your sales goals as well.

Marketing Plan

This is the section where you explain how you plan to get your cannabis products and services in front of your target clients. Make a list of the measures you’ll take to promote your products, as well as the budget you’ll need to put your plans into action.

Financial Plan

Ideas are amazing, but how can you turn them into reality and keep your business afloat? Making a financial plan will allow you to talk about money, think about start-up costs, financial projections, fundraising, and investor pitches, and handle your financial issues.

You’ll need to break down how much your start-up will cost, including everything from technology to leasing, and compare it to your financial estimates.

Operations Plan

The team and management plan component of a company plan is inextricably linked to the operations plan. An operations plan is the engine that drives the business machine. Nothing else in your business strategy will be done unless you have an operations plan.

This part should be jam-packed with details and instructions to guide individuals through the day-to-day activities of the company. To carry out the strategies and duties required to run the firm, the person described in the team and management plan portion of a business plan should refer to the operations plan.

When developing a business plan, integrate the operations and management plans into a single section labeled “Operations and Management Plan.” Creating an organization chart with each business member’s title, functions, responsibilities, and supervisory position is the first step in writing the section.

Timelines and Milestones

Establish a realistic operational timeline as well as the objectives you intend to achieve. These milestones can assist you in tracking the progress of your cannabis business.

Don’t Hesitate To Make Amendments If Required

A strong blueprint should be the foundation of a good business plan. It does not, however, have to be the final word. It’s especially important since, at the end of the day, it’s a plan – and plans can sometimes change.

Along with addressing any challenges that arise, be prepared to amend a business plan anytime the opportunity arises as you discover new prospects and ways to improve operations.

Step 3

Staffing Your Dispensary in Missouri

You need dedicated and well-trained staff to run a successful business. The size of your shop will determine how many employees you need, but if you have a few budtenders, a supervisor, and a store manager, you can estimate your annual payroll to be around $250,000 if you pay the industry standard rates. Security staff will be an additional expense.

Step 4

Choose Your Location With Care

The majority of state legislators oppose cannabis dispensaries being located near schools, churches, playgrounds, and other public areas. To ensure that your cannabis application is not rejected on these grounds, check with your local jurisdiction and choose your location carefully to open a dispensary in missouri.

Step 5

Tech Integration with Leading Technology Partner 

A successful cannabis business rests on a solid IT infrastructure and security system. As a result, once your license has been approved and you are ready to open shop, you must contact Cure8 IT experts. We can plan and design your store from the ground up. From Wi-Fi to tablets, scanners, printers, security cameras, and more, we have everything you need to complete your store’s IT infrastructure.

How Can Cure8 Help?

Cure8 is a one-stop tech solution provider that will transform your business for the better. We partner with your team to determine which IT services and solutions are best for your cannabis business. It includes IT consulting, managed IT services, and custom hardware and software solutions.

Check out more about our solutions here.

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