Hello and welcome back to Stock Legal’s blog series on Missouri’s Microbusiness Cannabis Licenses. In the first two blog posts we focused on general information and the differences between the two types of microbusiness licenses that will be available for application through Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Service (“DHSS”). Now that we have discussed the basics of the microbusiness licenses up for award, and you have had time to consider whether this venture is right for you, we will turn our focus to important dates and guidelines for the application process.
- June 6, 2023: As we discussed in Blog Post #2, application materials and instructions will be made available by DHSS on this date. To access these materials and instructions, you will want to go to DHSS’s website and look under the Cannabis Regulation section. There you will find a tab labeled “Facility Information,” and under that tab will be a section on how to apply. I do not know for certain that this will be where DHSS provides microbusiness license application information, but it will be the right place to start your search. Once the information becomes available on June 6, you will have 52 days until the application window begins to decide whether you think applying for a microbusiness cannabis license is right for you.
- July 27 - August 10, 2023: The application window during which you may submit for a microbusiness cannabis license. This is the first of three application windows that will be open for submission until April 2025. You only have 15 days to submit your application, so you will want to make sure that you have your process thought out and your plans in place prior to the application window opening. As someone who submitted applications during the original medical license application phase, I can assure you that there will be unexpected challenges to overcome as you near submission. You will want to save time to handle these hurdles and not scramble at the last minute to get all your ducks in a row, so to speak. I’m sure that you have dozens of questions about what will be required in the application, what are some items you should complete after application materials are released, etc. I promise we will get into the details in a later blog post, but for now, I want you to remember the following:
- As was mentioned in my initial blog post in this series, you will only be permitted to obtain one microbusiness cannabis license. DHSS has been very clear that they will automatically eliminate any applications that have the same ownership group listed on them. DHSS does not want applicants to submit multiple applications in the hopes of being awarded one.
- The cost of submitting a microbusiness application with DHSS is $1,500.00, which will be due at the time of submission. If you are unsuccessful in being chosen for a microbusiness cannabis license during the lottery, you may be refunded your application fee. I say “may” and not “will” because DHSS reserves the right to withhold your refund in the event they determine you did not adhere to their rules, including applying multiple times.
- DHSS will likely utilize an online portal system to accept the applications from all the applicants. I’m not knocking DHSS or their system, but I want you the reader to expect there to be delays or dysfunction with the system during the limited application submission window. Give yourself enough cushion to overcome these potential challenges.
- August 11, 2023 – October 2, 2023: After the application submission window closes, we will all let out a sigh of relief. Everyone will have put in long hours to try and submit the “perfect” application with DHSS, and now we will all have to collectively wait for the winners to be announced. During this time DHSS will review all the applications submitted.
- October 2 – 4, 2023: DHSS will announce the winners of this first application wave. DHSS will likely inform the winners via the email used during the application submission, so make sure you’ve chosen an email you check frequently.
- October 4 – November 4, 2023: After the winners are announced, the department will review all the selected winners again to ensure eligibility for the microbusiness cannabis license the winner has received. This review will focus on minimum standards and eligibility being confirmed for each winner. As I’ve mentioned a couple times now, if they determine there has been an attempt by an applicant to go around the rules or try and twist them in their benefit, the department will strip the awarded microbusiness license from the applicant and will award it to someone else. It is after November 4 that DHSS will begin refunding application fees for those who were unsuccessful in obtaining a license.
Not much is known about the second and third wave of application submissions that will be available in 2024 and 2025. What we know for now is that the second wave of applications will be sometime in June 2024, and the final wave will be accepted sometime in March 2025. So, if you are unsuccessful in winning a license this first time around, or maybe you aren’t ready to submit when the application window comes around, you will have two more opportunities. It is my assumption that there will be many applicants for this first wave, and I anticipate similar numbers in the following years.
Next week our blog post will focus on some of the tasks you should look to complete, starting now, as we await the release of the rules and instructions for applying for microbusiness licenses. We will discuss real estate, standard operating procedures, business plans, and other key items that will help you stand out amongst the other applicants.