The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has announced plans to award 48 cannabis microbusiness licenses via lottery in October. These microbusiness licenses aim to promote the participation of marginalized or underrepresented individuals in the legal marijuana market.
The state of Missouri is taking a step towards promoting inclusivity and diversity in the cannabis industry by offering 48 licenses for cannabis microbusinesses through a lottery system in October. These licenses are meant to benefit marginalized individuals, giving them a chance to participate in the state’s legal marijuana market. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has announced that retail licenses will be made available to both medical marijuana and adult-use retailers, while wholesale licenses will allow for cannabis cultivation and manufacturing.
According to a cannabis microbusiness FAQ offered by the DHSS, wholesale facilities will be allowed to grow up to 250 flowering cannabis plants at once. The regulator has set forth several eligibility requirements for the microbusiness license type, including prioritizing people with previous marijuana offenses. The goal is to ensure that those who have been negatively impacted by previous drug laws have an opportunity to enter the legal cannabis market.
The DHSS will begin accepting applications for microbusiness licenses on July 27th, with the window for applications remaining open until August 10th. The agency plans to issue six microbusiness licenses in each of the eight Missouri congressional districts in October, with two microbusiness dispensaries and four wholesale facilities being selected at random through a lottery system. The DHSS has stated that it plans to issue an additional 48 microbusiness licenses per year in both 2024 and 2025.
The cannabis industry in Missouri has been rapidly expanding since medical marijuana was legalized in the state in 2018. Currently, the state has over 136,000 medical marijuana patients and nearly 300 licensed facilities. As the industry grows, it is important to ensure that those who have been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs are given a fair chance to participate. The microbusiness license program is an important step in this direction.
The initiative will also help support small businesses and local economies. Microbusinesses are defined as small-scale cannabis operations that are vertically integrated, meaning they handle all aspects of the supply chain from cultivation to retail sales. By awarding these licenses to local entrepreneurs, the state can help promote economic development and create jobs in areas that have been historically neglected.
This move is a positive step towards social equity in the cannabis industry, as it recognizes that the War on Drugs has had a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities. By prioritizing those who have been previously incarcerated for marijuana offenses and providing them with a pathway into the legal cannabis market, Missouri is working to right some of the wrongs of the past. As the cannabis industry continues to grow, it is essential that states prioritize social equity and inclusivity in their licensing processes.