Will Your Business Receive a Missouri Medical Marijuana License?

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is accepting applications for medical marijuana facilities through August 17, 2019. More than 600 businesses have submitted pre-filed application forms and nonrefundable fees with the state. Missouri will award 348 available licenses across 8 districts. The medical marijuana program is expected to become operational in January 2020.

Missouri’s medical marijuana market could be significant as the state has over 6 million residents, and the conditions that qualify a patient for participation in the program are broad. The state has approved 5,000 patients since it began accepting applications on June 28, 2019.

The University of Missouri-Columbia drafted a Medical Marijuana Market Study for the DHHS that analyzed the potential consumers, production, and sellers in Missouri. The study utilized evidence from 19 states to determine that the number of patients in Missouri would be 19,000 in 2020, 22,500 in 2021, and 26,000 in 2022. The study indicated that, based on data from other states, most patients would qualify for medical marijuana due to chronic pain. Missouri utilized this study to establish the number of licenses that would be awarded when implementing the medical marijuana program.

The process for obtaining a cultivation and dispensary license will be competitive as the number of applicants that pre-filed applications outnumber the total number of available licenses. The state’s data shows that it has yet to receive an application for a testing facility, which could jeopardize the state’s go-live date. The number of applications received by the state versus the number of available licenses is provided below.

  • Cultivation License: 164 pre-filed applications for 60 available licenses.

  • Dispensary License: 334 pre-filed applications for 192 available licenses.

  • Manufacturing Licenses: 94 pre-filed application for 86 available licenses

  • Testing Licenses: 0 pre-filed applications for 10 available licenses.

The state will use a third-party entity will evaluate and score the submissions. The factors that are considered by the state’s scoring methodology include the applicant’s character and background (.12); the business plan, diversion controls and access to medical marijuana for low income patients (.20); site security (.20); management’s experience in legal cannabis market (.08); how the licensee will provide positive community impact (.16); a plan to maintain a competitive marketplace (.04); and license specific experience (.20).

The state has provided an extensive list of frequently asked questions that applicant’s should review as a part of the application process. The frequently asked questions address ownership restrictions and evaluation criteria that is essential to a successful application process.

Missouri will inform applicants on whether it obtained a license and/or certification within 150 days of the application’s submission.