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How to Get a Dispensary License in Missouri 2024

June 19, 2024

Since 2018, Missouri has allowed the use of medical marijuana. In the 2022 midterm elections, the state became the 21st to legalize recreational cannabis, opening doors for significant growth. This presents a substantial opportunity for dispensary owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. However, it is crucial to note the cannabis industry in Missouri is heavily regulated, with strict guidelines in place, so thorough preparation is essential for anyone seeking to enter this thriving market. If you’re looking to open a cannabis dispensary in Missouri in 2024, understanding the licensing process is crucial. This guide from IndicaOnline will walk you through the steps and provide essential information from official sources, ensuring you have the most accurate and up-to-date details.

Overview of Missouri’s Cannabis License

Missouri’s cannabis industry is regulated by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), which oversees the licensing, compliance, and monitoring of cannabis-related activities in the state to ensure consumer safety and access. The department aims to create a transparent and efficient system that benefits both medical patients and recreational users while maintaining high standards for public health and safety.

Types of Licenses:

  1. Medical Cannabis Dispensary License: Allows the sale of cannabis products to patients with qualifying medical conditions. To obtain this license, dispensaries must comply with specific regulations set by the DHSS, including security measures, product testing, and reporting requirements. This license ensures patients receive safe and effective cannabis products for their medical needs.
  2. Recreational Cannabis Dispensary License: Permits the sale of cannabis products to adults aged 21 and over. This license requires dispensaries to follow regulations similar to those for medical dispensaries, with additional measures to ensure products are not accessible to minors.

Microbusiness Facility License Requirements

To apply for a microbusiness dispensary facility license, the business must be majority-owned by individuals who meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Financial: Net worth below $250,000 and income below 250% of the federal poverty level for at least three of the past ten years, as outlined by the federal poverty income guidelines.
  • Veteran Status: Possess a valid service-connected disability card from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Non-Violent Marijuana Offense: Have been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted of a non-violent marijuana offense, except for cases involving providing marijuana to minors or driving under the influence.
  • Location: Live in a census tract or ZIP code where 30% or more residents live below the federal poverty level, the unemployment rate is 50% higher than the state average, or the historical incarceration rate for marijuana-related crimes is 50% higher than the state average.
  • Educational: Graduated from or lived in an area with an unaccredited school district for three of the past five years.

Lottery Awards Microbusiness Licenses

In 2024, Missouri introduced the cannabis microbusiness license to support smaller operations, which lowers entry barriers for small businesses and includes dispensary and wholesale facility licenses. The state of Missouri has awarded 48 cannabis microbusiness licenses specifically designated for the participation of “marginalized or under-represented individuals” in the legal marijuana industry.

These licenses were distributed across the state’s eight congressional districts, with each area receiving two retail licenses and four wholesale facility licenses. The DHSS selected the winners through a random lottery process involving over 1,600 applicants.

Applicants who were denied licenses can request a review of their applications or receive a full refund of their application fees. As promised by the DHSS in April, another 48 licenses will be issued through lotteries in 2024 and 2025.

Application Process

Step 1: Prepare Your Application

Before applying, ensure you have all necessary documents and information ready. This includes:

  • Business Plan: Outline your business strategy, including financial projections and marketing plans.
  • Security Plan: Detail your security measures, such as surveillance and access control.
  • Location: Identify a suitable location that complies with local zoning laws.

Step 2: Submit Your Application

Applications are submitted through the DHSS online portal. The application fee varies based on the type of license:

  • Medical Cannabis Dispensary License: $6,000 non-refundable application fee.
  • Recreational Cannabis Dispensary License: $10,000 non-refundable application fee.
  • Microbusiness License: $1,500 non-refundable application fee.

For more details on the application process and fees, refer to the DHSS page.

Missouri Dispensary Regulations


  • Separate Licenses: Each dispensary location needs its own license or certificate. However, with the department’s approval, multiple licenses can be held at a single location.
  • Annual Fees: Each license or certificate has a yearly fee. The first fee is due 30 days after getting the license, and then it is due annually.
  • Distance Restrictions: Dispensaries cannot be located within 1,000 feet of schools, daycares, or churches. The regulations outline specific measurement details in Article XIV.
  • Limited Relocation: Dispensaries can only move to a new location within their original congressional district.
  • Discretion Required: All marijuana-related activities, including growing, processing, selling, and displaying products, must be hidden from public view.
  • Inventory Management: Accurate and secure inventory management is crucial. You must track all cannabis products from acquisition to sale, ensuring compliance with state regulations. Consider using a cannabis POS system to streamline inventory management.
  • Inventory Tracking: To comply with the authorities and help maintain product availability and quality, IndicaOnline offers a reliable solution for cannabis inventory management.

Missouri dispensaries and cannabis businesses must comply with the Metrc (Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance) system to remain legally compliant. It is essential for Missouri dispensaries to use a technical system integrated with Metrc, and a fully integrated POS system, like IndicaOnline’s offering, simplifies record keeping and ensures compliance with Metrc regulations.

Financial Records

All financial transactions, including sales, purchases, payroll, and taxes, must be documented. Financial records should include:

  • Sales: Detailed records of all sales transactions, including the date, amount, and product details.
  • Purchases: Documentation of all purchases, including supplier information, product details, and costs.
  • Payroll: Records of employee wages, benefits, and other payroll expenses.

Tax: Documentation of all tax payments, including sales and income tax and any other applicable taxes.

Preparing for a Missouri Dispensary License in 2024

Securing a dispensary license in Missouri in 2024 requires careful preparation and adherence to the DHSS guidelines. Understanding the application process, types of licenses, and key regulatory themes can increase your chances of success. For the most accurate and detailed information, always refer to the official DHSS website. Prospective dispensary owners must prepare thoroughly, including drafting a comprehensive business and security plan and identifying a compliant location.

IndicaOnline offers point-of-sale systems tailored for dispensaries, inventory management programs, and regulatory tracking solutions to help Missouri retailers establish a solid foundation for their cannabis business. We provide the tools and support necessary to run your business smoothly, comply with all regulations, and achieve success. 

Note: This guide offers a thorough summary of the regulations. However, to guarantee your dispensary’s complete compliance and success, it’s always best to consult with lawyers and cannabis industry professionals.