Missouri Dispensary Laws

LAST UPDATED JANUARY 28, 2021

Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is responsible for issuing licenses to qualified patients and all facilities serving the medical cannabis space, including dispensaries. The DHSS awarded the first 192 dispensary licenses in January 2020. Adult-use or recreational cannabis is illegal in Missouri, and medical marijuana is legal only for patients with a qualifying condition. 

To operate in compliance with DHSS regulations, dispensaries must use a certified seed-to-sale system to track inventory and report to the state. In January 2020, the first 6 seed-to-sale systems were approved to operate in Missouri. Cova Software (Retail Innovation Labs) is proud to be among the first to receive a seed-to-sale license.

The official medical marijuana and dispensary rules are available in their entirety on the DHSS website. We have summarized the information herein Q & A form. This page is informational only and should not be considered legal advice.

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Inventory Control and Seed-to-Sale Tracking and Reporting in Missouri

All medical marijuana facilities, including dispensaries, must follow certain inventory control protocols to ensure compliance with state laws and prevent diversion into the black market.

What inventory control systems are required by a dispensary in Missouri?

All dispensaries must appoint, in writing, a facility agent who is generally responsible for inventory control systems and procedures. All medical marijuana weighed or measured must be done so using a National Type Evaluation Program approved scale, which must be calibrated at least once a year. Each dispensary must use a DHSS-certified seed-to-sale tracking system.

How often do dispensaries need to audit inventory?

Physical inventory counts are to be conducted quarterly and reconciled to perpetual inventory records. Any significant variances must be documented, investigated by a manager, and reported to DHSS within 24 hours.

What are the reporting requirements for dispensaries?

The Missouri DHSS requires all facilities to use a department-certified seed-to-sale tracking system, connected to the statewide track and trace system, that records each day’s beginning inventory, acquisitions, sales, disbursements, remediations, disposals, transfers, ending inventory, and any other data required by the statewide track and trace system. That includes:

  • Weight of dried, unprocessed marijuana sold, in ounces or grams
  • Concentrates, in grams
  • Infused products, by milligrams of THC

Missouri has chosen Metrc as its track and trace system. Cova software will integrate directly with Metrc to reduce time and errors in the reporting process, making compliance easier for dispensaries.

What are the laws on record keeping?

All records must be maintained for at least five years after the date of recording.

Who has oversight and auditing responsibilities?

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will have oversight and auditing powers over all of Missouri’s commercial medical marijuana operations.

What are the penalties for breaking compliance laws?

A failure to comply with seed-to-sale tracking requirements by any facility or employee can result in the facility’s license being revoked.

Will Cova reporting meeting Missouri's requirements?

Yes, the Cova POS will generate reports to specifically comply with Missouri regulations, and will be integrated with the Metrc track and trace system, so you can automatically submit reports on time. Cova’s system will further automate compliance with instant age verification and purchase limit monitoring.

Is Cova certified by DHSS to meet seed-to-sale tracking requirements in Missouri?

Yes, Cova (registered as Retail Innovation Labs) is one of the first seed-to-sale compliant POS systems certified by Missouri's DHSS.

  • Cova will be integrated with Metrc, the statewide track-and-trace system, to provide all required information for inventory control and tracking.
  • Allows DHSS access to all system database information.
  • Maintains confidentiality of all patient data and records by restricting access to only the department and other entities authorized by law.
  • Produces reports to DHSS that include all required sales and inventory analytics.

Medical Marijuana Licensing

For those interested in opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Missouri, here are some key highlights of the law regarding obtaining a marijuana license.

What type of medical marijuana licenses are available in Missouri?

There are specific cannabis licenses available in Missouri for cultivation, dispensary, manufacturing, testing, and transportation.

What is the process for obtaining a dispensary license in Missouri?

The application window for the first round of dispensaries licenses is now closed. DHSS accepted license applications from August 3, 2019, to August 20th 2019 and conducted scoring to determine which applicants would be granted a license.

Dispensary license winners were announced around January 24, 2020.

DHSS has not announced when the next round of applications will be accepted, but is expected to publish any new application timelines at least 6 months in advance of the next window.

What fees are associated with a dispensary license in Missouri?

There is a $6,000 non-refundable application fee and a $10, 000 annual fee for your dispensary license.

What state agency is in charge of licensing?

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is in charge of reviewing applications and approving patient and dispensary licenses.

Is one entity allowed to own more than one license?

Up to 5 dispensary licenses, or 3 cultivation licenses, or 3 manufacturing licenses may be issued to “any entity under substantially common control, ownership, or management.”

What are the basic requirements for applicants?

Applicants for commercial licenses must be a Missouri resident with proof of residency for at least 1 year. Entities must be majority-owned by natural persons who have been citizens of Missouri for at least 1 year and do not claim resident privileges in another state or county.

No facility can be owned in any part by or employ anyone with a disqualifying felony offense. Applications must include a statement confirming all owners, principal officers, and managers have submitted fingerprints and undergone a criminal background check by the Missouri State Highway Patrol within in the past 6 months.

What are the key criteria applicants will be scored on to earn the best chance at a dispensary license?

If the number of applicants is greater than the number of dispensary licenses available, the DHSS will determine the most suitable candidates by scoring and ranking applicants. Here are some of the criteria they will use, and you should consider to ensure your best chance at getting a license:

  • The character and qualifications of the principal officers or managers
  • The business plan, including safety, security, supply, low-income patient solutions, and black market diversion measures
  • Dispensary site security
  • Previous experience in a legal cannabis market
  • Potential for positive economic impact in the community
  • Capacity or experience with health care, and the suitability and accessibility of the location for patients
  • A plan to maintain competitiveness in the medical marijuana market

Where can I find more information about Missouri medical marijuana licensing process?

You can find the draft rules outlining application information and all other aspects of the Medical Marijuana Program on the Missouri DHSS website.

Missouri Dispensary Laws

Maintaining compliance is key to keeping your license. Familiarize yourself with some of the important rules for running a medical marijuana dispensary in Missouri.

What document do you need to work in a dispensary in Missouri?

Each owner, officer, manager, contractor, employee or support staff must obtain an Agent Identification Card with a unique identifying number. This must be granted before any individual can begin employment. You can apply for this ID card through the DHSS for a fee of $75 and it is valid for 3 years.

Who can Missouri dispensaries sell to?

Only medical patients (or Primary Caregivers) with a valid DHSS-issued ID card can purchase from a dispensary in Missouri.

What are the restrictions on dispensary location in Missouri?

When choosing a dispensary location, regulations state that your facility must be at least 1,000 feet from an elementary or secondary school, daycare, or church. This is measured by a straight line (shortest distance) from the closest external wall of the dispensary to the closest property line point of the school, daycare, or church. Individual districts can increase these boundaries.

What can be sold in Missouri dispensary?

Medical cannabis dispensaries in Missouri can sell mature plants, seedlings, concentrates, flower, and edibles.

What are the limits on how much a dispensary can sell a medical marijuana patient?

A dispensary cannot sell more than four (4) ounces of dried, unprocessed cannabis, or its equivalent, to any qualifying patient within a 30-day period, in accordance with possession limits for individuals.

What are labeling and packaging requirements for medical marijuana?

Missouri law states that packaging for medical marijuana must be clearly and conspicuously labeled as “Marijuana” or “Marijuana-infused Product”. It must not be designed to cause confusion between a marijuana product and any product not containing marijuana, or to appeal in any way to a minor. Packaging must be opaque, resealable, and constructed to be significantly difficult for children under 5 to open.

Packaging may not contain any health benefit claims, but it must contain proper warnings consistent with state laws.

What is the tax on medical marijuana?

There is a 4% sales tax on medical marijuana, with the revenue to be distributed to healthcare services, job training, housing assistance, and other services for veterans.

What are the limitations on advertising medical marijuana in Missouri?

You cannot display marijuana, accessories, or advertisements for either anywhere that can be seen by the general public outside your dispensary. Any signage visible to the outside public may only contain your business name, address, phone number, and website. It can’t contain images of marijuana, accessories, or suggestive images like smoke. You can’t give away free product during promotional events or allow smoking in the dispensary.

Missouri Medical Marijuana Law

Here are the basics on the new medical marijuana law in Missouri.

Who can buy medical marijuana in Missouri?

Qualifying patients over 18, or Primary Caregivers of certain qualifying patients under the age of 18, who possess an ID card issued by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) can purchase medical marijuana from any state-licensed dispensary. To obtain this ID card, a qualifying patient or Primary Caregiver must obtain physician certification and apply via the DHSS within 30 days.

Are there any qualifying medical conditions?

Yes, patients must have one of the following conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraines
  • Chronic severe, persistent pain or persistent muscle spasms
  • Debilitating psychiatric disorders
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Chronic medical conditions otherwise treated by prescription medications that may be habit-forming
  • Any terminal illness
  • Other chronic, debilitating or other medical conditions at a physician’s discretion

How much does a medical marijuana patient license in Missouri cost?

Each patient or Primary Caregiver ID card costs $25 and is valid for 1 year. Physician certification must also be renewed annually.

What are the possession limits for medical marijuana patients in Missouri?

While certain exceptions apply, and require certification from multiple physicians, state law says it is legal for all medical marijuana patients and Primary Caregivers to possess:

  • Up to 6 flowering marijuana plants
  • Up to a 90-day supply of dried, unprocessed marijuana or equivalent (if cultivating plants on their property)
  • Up to a 60-day supply of dried, unprocessed marijuana or equivalent (if not cultivating plants)
Mark-Balestra

Mark Balestra

Cannabis Business Lawyer & US Special Counsel Segev LLP

Legally reviewed by

Mark Balestra

Mark Balestra has 23 years of experience in emerging highly regulated industries and has been representing clients in the cannabis industry for the past 2 years. Through his cannabis practice, he has provided legal guidance in the areas of licensing, compliance, corporate governance, corporate transactions, human resources, and commercial transactions.

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