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Missouri Cannabis Licensing Process

Authors: Mark Balestra, US Special Counsel, and Natasha Vlajnic, 2019 Summer Student.

The article below is a simplification of the licensing process – obtaining legal advice is recommended. If your company needs assistance in filing a cannabis license application, Segev LLP (Vancouver) is here to help. Feel free to reach out to Mark Balestra, a senior lawyer at our St. Louis office. Mark has experience in Missouri Licensing applications and will be happy to assist you. You can reach him directly at

Missouri Legalized Cannabis Licensing Process

With one foot in the door of legalized cannabis, Missouri is set to begin the licensing process of 338 medical marijuana dispensary related facilities on August 3, 2019. For dispensaries, the number of initial licenses will be limited to 192, and each of Missouri’s 8 districts will issue up to 24 licenses. With the official start date looming close, applicants hoping to receive one of the few available licenses shouldn’t wait until then to start preparing. For those who miss the deadline, the second round of application reviews won’t happen for at least another six months.


The first step is to determine whether you are eligible to receive a license. In order to apply for a cannabis license, applicants must be a resident of the state of Missouri for a minimum of one year. Majority ownership of any cannabis related entity must also be held by an individual who has been a citizen of Missouri for at least a year, and such businesses cannot claim their residency in any other state. Finally, no owner, partial owner, licensee, or employee of the cannabis entity can have a record with a disqualifying felony on it.

Scoring System:

The licensing process will operate through a transparent scoring system, run by an independent party to promote fairness. The score is based on various criteria, including team experience in legal cannabis, business plans, and overall site security. Licenses will then be distributed based on applications with the highest scores. It’s important to follow the state’s Proposed Scoring Rubric and it is recommended to engage a lawyer/attorney to assist in preparing your cannabis license application.


The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS) will accept cannabis license applications for two weeks from August 3 to August 17. From this first wave – which is expected to surpass 400 applications— the state must grant at least 60 commercial cultivator, 86 producer, and 192 retailer licenses by December 31, 2019. In preparation for August 3, applicants should look over the Sample Applications and the Proposed Scoring Rubric released by the DHSS. Due to the competitiveness of securing one of the limited licenses, it may also be in your best interest to pre-file the application fees and complete the 18+ required worksheets before the application period opens. Having all the required information prepared prior to the application date will help maintain a smooth process and ensure you do not miss the filing deadline. The DHSS will notify you within 150 days of your submission whether you have been awarded a license.

Licensing Fees:

The following is a list of the required Application Fees based on the type of license requested:

  1. Cultivation License: $10,000 non-refundable, $25,000 annual
  2. Dispensary License: $6,000 non-refundable, $10,000 fee
  3. Medical Cannabis-Infused Processor: $6,000 non-refundable, $10,000 annual

As mentioned above, it may be prudent to pre-file the application fees prior to August 3, though you will also be allowed to file them alongside your online application during the application window. This article is for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as legal advice.