Overview Of Missouri Cannabis Laws As The State Goes Legal On December 8, 2022
Cannabis is legal in Missouri for both recreational and medical use. On Nov. 8, Missourians legalized recreational marijuana by voting “yes” on Amendment 3. As a result, cannabis products like marijuana flower or edibles will be available for purchase in the coming months. Although the act is set to take effect on Dec. 8, you won’t be able to walk into a dispensary and buy weed for a few more months. If you’re considering opening a dispensary or other cannabis related businesses, read on to familiarize yourself with Missouri’s latest marijuana laws.
Recreational Cannabis in Missouri
On Dec. 8, all adults ages 21 and older will be able to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis flower, or its equivalent in other products, without a prescription. Customers may buy up to 3 ounces every day once state-licensed stores are open.
According to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS), the organization overseeing the state’s marijuana businesses, the transition process won’t be complete until early February. The transition process can get complicated and involves processing license change requests for facilities.
Information for Employers
While legalizing marijuana use for recreational purposes was the main goal of Amendment 3, employers should note the changes related to marijuana use for medical purposes.
A medical marijuana identification card, the legal use of marijuana outside of the employer’s property during nonworking hours or a positive marijuana test will no longer be grounds for discrimination against an employee in Missouri. Unless the employee was using, in possession of or under the influence of marijuana while at work.
The law does not permit the use of marijuana in public places, at work or while driving.
Employers can forbid employees from working while high and can fire them if they do. Employers are not required to permit or accommodate marijuana use or possession on company property.
Information for Dispensaries
Already established medical marijuana operations will be grandfathered into the legal program. For new dispensary applications, Missouri’s DHSS will establish a lottery process to determine which applicants will receive licenses.
A license would not be available to some people with felony convictions. If a person has a felony conviction for a cannabis-related or nonviolent crime, or if it has been more than five years since their last felony conviction, they are still eligible to apply for a license.
Medical Marijuana in Missouri
The state legalized medical marijuana in 2018. The legalization of recreational marijuana doesn’t mean a medical marijuana card will no longer have a purpose. With a medical marijuana card, Missourians can possess up to 6 ounces instead of the 3 ounces permitted for recreational use. In addition, the tax rate for medical marijuana will be 4%. It’s 6% for recreational marijuana.
Companies that have emerged as market leaders in the state’s medical marijuana sector will be first in line for recreational licenses. A microbusiness licensing program is also established by the amendment for newer, smaller businesses and entrepreneurs. This microbusiness license program is designed to assist individuals who want to enter the market by producing or growing marijuana on a smaller scale.
Requirements for Owning a Dispensary in Missouri
Cannabis dispensary owners have enormous growth potential, but the laws are strict in this tightly controlled sector, so preparation is crucial for anyone looking to enter Missouri’s booming cannabis market.
You must have lived in Missouri for at least a year before you can apply for a cannabis business license. Cannabis business entities cannot claim residency in another state and must be majority-owned by a Missourian who has been a resident for at least a year. A disqualifying felony cannot be on the record of any licensee, owner, partial owner or employee.
You must explain in your application how the seed-to-sale system you select enables you to uphold compliance and conduct an ethical business.
To track inventory and send reports to the state, all Missouri medical cannabis dispensaries are required to use a certified cannabis point-of-sale (POS) and inventory-management system. The law requires medical cannabis dispensaries in Missouri to keep records for a maximum of five years.
In Missouri, constructing a dispensary is subject to both final DHSS inspections and local municipal building inspections, which adhere to the universal building code.
A map of the proposed medical marijuana dispensary facility that demonstrates that it complies with a 1,000-foot buffer from churches, daycare centers and schools is required from all applicants for medical marijuana dispensaries.
In accordance with 19 CSR 30-95.040(4)(F), all facility types must meet the HVAC requirements. According to 19 CSR 30-95.050(2)(C) for cultivation and 19 CSR 30-95.060(2)(B) for manufacturing, facilities must also implement an odor-control plan. Manufacturing facilities that use volatile solvents must also install air-handling systems and other safety measures to reduce the risk of explosions and fires.
You are not permitted to display marijuana, its accessories or any advertising for marijuana for the general public to see on the building. For example, a green cross is not allowed because it represents medical marijuana. The only information that may appear on any signage is your company name, address, phone number and website. If billboards are located on the property, advertising regulations also apply to those.
For complete building design requirements, refer to the facility FAQs section of the state’s site.
Dispensaries are required to collect 4% of the retail price for the Missouri Veteran’s Health and Care fund in addition to any general state and local sales and use taxes that are applicable to retail sales, as per section 1, subsection 4(1) of Article XIV. For recreational marijuana, the excise tax rate is 6%.
According to Missouri law, medical marijuana packaging must prominently and clearly bear the labels “Marijuana” or “Marijuana-infused Product.” It cannot be intended to appeal to minors in any way or to confuse consumers between products that contain marijuana and those that don’t.
Anyone age 21 or older may buy up to 3 ounces of dried, unprocessed marijuana each day once stores have received their licenses. The state determines the permissible quantity of gummies and other products that aren’t sold in flower form using a different weighing system. For medical marijuana users, the limit is 6 ounces.
A seed-to-sale tracking system is the system used to track marijuana. Systems have software created to carry out the tasks required to fulfill the obligations of a licensed or certified facility in tracking medical marijuana from the seed or immature plant until the medical marijuana is sold to a qualified patient or the patient’s caregiver. It’s currently in place for medical marijuana but will be used for recreational marijuana tracking as well.
How exactly is a seed tracked? The containers holding the seeds are given labels or tags with unique barcodes or QR codes. A tag may be hung on the plant itself as it develops. Employees use mobile scanning/reading devices to scan the plant throughout the entire supply chain. The code stays with the harvested plant whether it is made into a vape oil, tincture, edible, topical or other cannabis product to guarantee that the tracking chain is kept intact.
A facility’s license may be revoked if it or an employee intentionally misuses or falsifies seed-to-sale tracking data or violates the requirements for seed-to-sale tracking.
Considerations for Dispensary Applicants
Missouri is the 21st state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Opening a dispensary is an exciting business venture, but it’s also complex, and you’ll need to ensure you are familiar with all Missouri marijuana laws every step of the way – from seed to sale. If you fail to follow the laws set by the state, you risk losing your license. Expect to spend several months getting ready to open your dispensary, including acquiring tracking and reporting software, buying the dispensary-management tech tools and applying for a Missouri dispensary license.
If you’re looking for a company to help with financing from seed to sale and help you navigate the Missouri laws, check out Seed to Sale Funding. Federal laws make it difficult to get financing from a conventional bank or credit union, but Seed to Sale Funding is a commercial lender dedicated to helping your business grow. It offers financing in every state, not just Missouri.
This article was originally published on Benzinga and appears here with permission.