Missouri Marijuana Laws – How to Open a Dispensary in Missouri


If you want to open a dispensary in Missouri, you need to understand Missouri marijuana laws. The state has always been one of the more restrictive states regarding cannabis laws but as of November 2018, Amendment 2 was voted on and passed. This amendment legalized the use of medical marijuana for patients who qualified.

So, while medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, recreational use is not. Senate Bill 491 was enacted in 2014 to reduce the punishment for possession of 10 grams or less and as of January 1, 2017, a first offense is now a class D misdemeanor with a fine of $250 to $1000. This is classified as an infraction. Possession of over 10 to 35grams is considered a class A misdemeanor but can lead to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2000. If a person is caught with more than 35 grams then it can be considered a felony and lead to seven years of jail time and a $5000 fine.

When it comes to medical marijuana and registered patients, both patients, and their primary caregiver can buy up to four ounces of cannabis from dispensaries each month. Missouri adds a 4% sales tax with extra income going to help to cover veterans’ health care costs. The new law also lets people grow up to six plants for personal use if they are registered with the medical marijuana program. Registering comes from recommendations from state-licensed doctors for those with:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Ongoing migraines
  • MS
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Psychiatric issues
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Terminal illness

Doctors can also suggest marijuana for any illness that is chronic, debilitating, or something a doctor would think might benefit from its use.

Opening Dispensaries

While its important to understand Missouri marijuana laws, you need to know even more details around opening a legal medical marijuana dispensary. Many guidelines and regulations have to be met to make sure you have a successful and profitable business venture.

1. Complete the Dispensary Application

If you are serious about applying to open a dispensary then the proper paperwork is required. Fill in the application and filing fees as soon as you can. Pay attention to the requirements so you can make sure to meet whatever is required. Make sure to have the necessary documentation and the required business info. Application fees start at $6000 if you want to open a dispensary. Fees are more for those who are cultivating or if you are manufacturing infused products.

2. Have Your Capital Ready

Have Your Capital Ready

If you are going to open a dispensary, you need to be aware of costs. You need a significant amount of capital to get up and running and more to become a success. Having some proof of capital is needed to make your application successful. The state will look to see if you can fund your own business and make a successful go of it. Look for investors who have experience in the dispensary field. If you are seeking a medical marijuana license, anyone with majority ownership must have lived in Missouri for more than a year. Missouri residents have to own 51% of any corporation or limited liability company.

3. Hire the Best

Do not open a dispensary alone. You cannot know everything and cover all the bases by yourself so find a team of people who know what they are doing and can help you. You need doctors, healthcare admin, horticultural specialists, and people who know the industry plus coworkers and support from those who know the details about your business. Expert knowledge is something you can never be short of and you can find the right partners on our staffing and recruiting section.

4. Use a Legal Team that Knows Missouri

In some capacity, Marijuana is legal in 32 states but the fact that it is still illegal federally poses challenges. There are legal intricacies that need to be worked with and around to make sure you meet the necessary laws and regulations. New bills are being put forward constantly to regulate the Missouri industry and provide business guidance on how things are going to be enforced. You need to be on top of the licensing process and the medical marijuana program in Missouri. Cannabis lawyers are needed to interpret and apply the law for you if you are going to open a dispensary. You do not want to be threatened with a shut down because you broke the law, even if you did it inadvertently. A solid legal team makes sure you are legally on track and keeps on top of new laws that come into play.

5. Build Your Business Plan

If you are going to find solid investors in the marijuana industry, you need to have a solid business plan. No investor is going to go all-in if you don’t have a good plan in place. Lay the plan out with details, ideas, financing, and more. Use a business consultant if you feel uncomfortable with creating that plan. Make sure it is suitable for a dispensary rather than offering a basic business proposition as with most other new start-ups. Most online business plan templates won’t include the details you need for this marijuana business. A good business plan created for a dispensary means your application has a better chance of success.

Final Thoughts

Missouri marijuana laws need to be studied if you want to open a dispensary. You also need a solid business plan, knowledgeable investors, proper financing, a good legal team, and some background in the cannabis industry. It is not an easy start but if you can get in on the bottom floor and get your application approved, you have a chance at a successful dispensary. Don’t ignore any of these above points as Missouri regulators will want to see that you have crossed all your t’s and dotted all your i’s.

Andrew Lawrence

Andrew Lawrence is the Co-founder of Cannabis Stack. He is a dedicated and experienced entrepreneur, angel investor, and growth marketing professional for a wide range of businesses and clients across different industry sectors, including the Cannabis Industry.


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