How to open a cannabis dispensary

How to Open a Cannabis Dispensary in Missouri

Opening a cannabis dispensary in Missouri? Learn about medical and adult-use laws, licensing, and effective marketing for your dispensary

The cannabis industry has been rapidly growing recently in Missouri, with more than $715 million of recreational marijuana being sold between February and August 2023.

If you’re looking to join this boom by opening a cannabis dispensary in Missouri, you must first understand the laws you’ll have to adhere to. It’s also essential to understand what type of cannabis dispensary you can open, and the licenses you’ll need to open your doors.

If you’re planning to open a medical cannabis dispensary in Missouri, you’ll want to know the regulations you’ll have to follow, in terms of who is allowed to buy medicinal cannabis from you, and how much they are allowed to have over which time period.

If you want to open a recreational cannabis dispensary in Missouri or retailer of weed, there will also be restrictions and regulations as to who you’re allowed to serve and how much recreational cannabis they’re allowed to have in their possession at any given time.

There are different licenses for different types of dispensaries, depending on the type of product you sell and whether you grow your own weed.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look into everything you’ll have to consider when opening a cannabis dispensary in the state of Missouri.

What we've covered:

Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Missouri?

Restrictions Around Medical Cannabis in Missouri

Licenses for Opening a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Missouri

How to Open a Medical Cannabis Dispensary in Missouri

Is Recreational Cannabis Legal in Missouri?

Restrictions around Recreational Cannabis in Missouri

Licenses for Opening a Recreational Marijuana Dispensary in Missouri

How to Open a Recreational Cannabis Dispensary in Missouri

How Seed Technology can help your Missouri Dispensary


Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Missouri?

In November of 2018, 65% of voters in Missouri passed Amendment 2 of the Missouri Constitution, legalizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

This became effective in December of the same year, and it meant that patients who met a certain criteria would now be able to obtain marijuana to help with their treatment.

It’s important to note that medical marijuana means any strain of cannabis with less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol content – in other words, low-THC cannabis.

Restrictions around Medical Cannabis in Missouri

There are several restrictions around who can obtain medical, low-THC marijuana in the state of Missouri.

People needing to use medical marijuana must have a physician’s certificate, and this can only be issued if the patient meets a specific criteria.

For example, people must be diagnosed with one of the following medical conditions to be issued a physician certificate:

  •   Intractable migraines unresponsive to other treatment
  •   Epilepsy
  •   Cancer
  •   Glaucoma
  •   A chronic medical condition that causes severe, persistent pain or persistent muscle spasms, such as:

o   Multiple sclerosis

o   Seizures

o   Parkinson’s disease

o   Tourette’s syndrome

  •   Debilitating psychiatric disorders such as:

o   Post-traumatic stress order (PTSD)

  •   Terminal illness
  •   Human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  •   Another chronic, debilitating or other medical condition such as:

o   Hepatitis C

o   Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

o   Inflammatory bowel disease

o   Crohn’s disease

o   Huntington’s disease

o   Autism

o   Neuropathies

o   Sickle cell anemia

o   Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease

o   Cachexia

o   Wasting syndrome

There are other conditions on the list for Article XIV (the article which controls the use of medical marijuana), and all of these must be diagnosed by a fully-licensed physician before the certificate is issued.

Licenses for Opening a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Missouri

Based on the nature of your business, there are several licenses you need to get to open a medical cannabis dispensary in Missouri.

There are currently five licenses which medical marijuana businesses must get, depending on what stage of the medical weed process they’re involved in. These are as follows:

  •   Cultivation;
  •   Manufacturing;
  •   Testing;
  •   Transportation;
  •   Seed-to-sale;
  •   Dispensing.

If your business is in charge of the whole process, from growing the marijuana to selling it, the seed-to-sale license would be best suited. However, if you don’t do the whole process, you may need to apply for a few of these licenses.

There will be application forms to fill in, depending on which license you’re applying for, which will require you to provide information about your business and plans.

Also, applying for these different licenses involves an application fee, which you’ll have to keep in mind when budgeting to open your medical cannabis dispensary.

For example, the Cultivation Facility application fee is $10,000, whereas the Dispensary Facility application fee is $6,000.

Aside from the fees, the process of applying for a license to dispense medical cannabis is straightforward.

How to Open a Medical Cannabis Dispensary in Missouri

Once you’ve obtained the right license to dispense medical cannabis in Missouri, it’s time to think about opening your doors and selling your products.

First, though, it’s important to establish your brand and identity as a business, in line with the guidance and restrictions around the dispensing of medical marijuana.

For example, it was recently decided by governing bodies in Missouri that medical cannabis companies should no longer advertise certain strains of weed.

However, you can still establish your brand and make sure that you have a good reputation in the medical marijuana industry, by adhering to the rules and finding different ways to engage potential customers.

Once you have your branding down, it’s time to get your premises decorated and furnished to reflect your style and identity as a business. When doing this, it’s always important to keep in mind your customers’ comfort and overall experience in your dispensary, as this will lead to word of mouth recommendations and more customers.

So, when you’ve got the necessary licenses, figured out your branding strategy, integrated it with your interior design and found some customers for your business, it’s time to join the boom and open a medical cannabis dispensary.  

Is Recreational Cannabis Legal in Missouri?

In November 2022, a ballot to legalize the use of recreational cannabis in Missouri was passed, due to a slim majority vote of 53%.

Officially, recreational cannabis became legal in Missouri in December 2022.

This change meant that, in order to sell recreational cannabis as well as medical cannabis, dispensaries had to update their licenses to facilitate this.

As part of this legalization, people are now able to grow marijuana in Missouri, as long as it is for personal use, meaning that they don’t sell it to anyone.

Restrictions around Recreational Cannabis in Missouri

When it comes to growing cannabis for personal use, this can only be done by someone over the age of 21, and they must be authorized to do so. The growing process has to take place in an enclosed, locked facility, and the plants grown can never be used commercially. If you apply to grow your own weed and you’re accepted, you will get a consumer personal cultivation identification card.

In terms of who can buy recreational cannabis from a dispensary, consumers have to be over the age of 21. This means that dispensaries selling recreational cannabis have to ask customers for government-issued identification with their date of birth, before being able to sell them any products.

Also, there are restrictions around how much recreational cannabis a person can be in possession of legally. In accordance with the changes issued in December 2022, people will only be able to have up to 3 ounces of recreational marijuana in their possession at any time.

Once medical cannabis dispensaries convert their licenses to comprehensive licenses, they will be able to legally dispense and sell recreational marijuana to their consumers, as well as selling medical marijuana to patients.

Licenses for Opening a Recreational Marijuana Dispensary in Missouri

If you’re looking to open a recreational marijuana dispensary in Missouri, there are a few licenses you may need to apply for, depending on the nature of your business.

They are as follows:

  •   Comprehensive facility license;
  •   Microbusiness dispensary;
  •   Microbusiness facility;
  •   Transportation;
  •   Seed to Sale;
  •   Infused product manufacturing;
  •   Cultivation;
  •   Lab testing.

When applying for a license to become a recreational marijuana dispensary in Missouri, depending on which application route you take, there will be a form to fill in. You’ll also have to provide details of your business plan.

There are also some rules around how your recreational cannabis dispensary is allowed to operate and sell products.

Firstly, once obtained and when you open, your license or licenses should be displayed near your store’s main entrance.

Secondly, the cultivation, manufacturing, display or sale of cannabis can’t be visible from a public area.

Also, you must have quality management systems in place within a year of your operations being approved.

Finally, the marijuana products you dispense and sell can’t be consumed on your premises.

As long as you get the right license or licenses and adhere to the rules and regulations around dispensing recreational cannabis, you should be ready to forge ahead towards opening for business.

How to Open a Recreational Cannabis Dispensary in Missouri

Now that you’re on your way towards opening a recreational marijuana dispensary in Missouri, it’s time to think about your premises and how you’re going to brand yourself.

It’s essential to look over the restrictions and guidance as to how you’re allowed to promote your products, and the colors you’re allowed to use in your branding.

Once this is established, you can choose the colors which you feel suit your company best, from which you can create a palette of brand colors.

When you have this in place, you can decorate and furnish your premises in these colors, to make your space truly reflect your brand identity. You want consumers to walk in your premises and know where they are right away.  

It’s also a good idea to furnish your space with seating options, to keep your consumers comfortable, especially if they’re waiting to be served. Also, keeping your consumers entertained with information about your products – as long as it is within the guidelines and regulations as stated in the law – helps educate them. This way, you can optimize consumers’ experience in your dispensary.

How Seed Technology can help your Missouri Dispensary

At Seed Technology, we offer a variety of solutions for cannabis dispensaries in Missouri, whether you're setting up a medical or recreational facility. Our offerings include:

Seed TV Menu: An easy way to showcase your dispensary's product menu and promotional content on entertainment screens. Customize your TV menus with the products, images, or videos you prefer, and there are no ads!

Self-Service Kiosks: Integrate our user-friendly self-service kiosks to allow customers to place orders quickly through touchscreens, streamlining transactions and freeing up your staff. We can seamlessly fit our technology into your existing workflow.

Tablets: Whether used by servers or customers, tablets make ordering easy.

While complying with Missouri's laws and regulations, especially for medical dispensaries, where certain product promotions may be restricted, there's still an opportunity to educate customers about your offerings.

Seed Technology is dedicated to creating an enhanced dispensary experience for you and your customers. 

Schedule a demo with us to learn more about how we can help you drive more revenue using our tech. 

Similar posts

Like what you see?

Subscribe for monthly roundups of all the newest posts.