Marijuana microbusinesses: What are they and how do they work?

March 13, 2023 · Yahoo!News

Missourians voted to legalize recreational, adult-use marijuana in November. That constitutional amendment also established a framework for marijuana “microbusinesses” — business licenses intended to allow more “everyday folks” to participate in the state’s growing marijuana industry.

“Right now, the way I see it is these microbusinesses are effectively small businesses that are designed to allow particular entities and individuals to own and operate them,” Missouri’s Division of Cannabis Regulation Director Amy Moore said.

While the idea seems straightforward, the details aren’t as obvious. The News-Leader compiled a handful of frequently asked questions about microbusinesses, including who qualifies, when the licenses become available and how licenses will be distributed.

Who can apply for a Missouri microbusiness license?

Generally, the licenses are targeted to folks from under-represented or marginalized communities. A microbusiness license applicant must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Has a net worth less than $250,000 and an income below 250% of the federal poverty level;
  • Has a valid service-connected disability card issued by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs;
  • Is someone who has been, or whose parent or guardian has been arrested, prosecuted or convicted of a non-violent marijuana offense;
  • Resides in a ZIP code or census tract where 30% or more of the population lives below the federal poverty level, the unemployment rate is 50% higher than the state average or the historic rate of incarceration for marijuana-related offenses is 50% higher than the state average; or
  • Graduated from an unaccredited school district or lived in a ZIP code with an unaccredited school.

How do you apply for a microbusiness license?

Application materials and instructions for microbusiness licenses will become available in early June. These materials will be provided on the Department of Health and Senior Services website at health.mo.gov/safety/cannabis/.

Moore said that previously, the division solely provided online instructional materials for medical and comprehensive licenses. Moving forward, the division will provide more hands-on education and resources for microbusiness applicants. What this looks like exactly is still being worked on.

More:Meet Amy Moore, the new director of Missouri’s Division of Cannabis Regulation

How many microbusiness licenses will be distributed?

The first round of microbusiness licenses will be distributed in October, Moore said. Distribution of these licenses will occur on a lottery system.

“The lottery will rank the applicants for us and we will issue licenses from that ranking,” Moore said. “Just like in any lottery you’re going to end up with a winner and in this case, what we’d have to do is not just pick one winner but generate a ranking list. We can go down the list to the number of licenses we will issue and we’ll have to know, in this case, who are the top 48 applicants.”

In October, 48 microbusiness licenses will be distributed. Nine months later, another 48 will be awarded and then in another nine months, a third round of 48 licenses will be. By April 2025, 144 microbusiness licenses will have been made available.

How much does it cost to apply for a microbusiness license?

A microbusiness license application is $1,500 per entity. If an individual is not chosen by the division’s lottery system, this fee is refunded. Licenses are valid for three years and are renewable.

Once granted, the licensee must pay an annual fee of $1,500 per facility license, except the first year, which will be exempt.

More:Springfield dispensaries experience long lines during opening weekend of recreational

What types of facilities can you operate with a microbusiness license?

An entity that applies for a microbusiness license may operate a microbusiness dispensary facility or a microbusiness wholesale facility.

A dispensary facility license allows an individual to acquire marijuana and marijuana-infused products from other microbusiness facilities and process, package, deliver and sell them to other microbusiness facilities or directly to consumers.

A wholesale facility license allows an individual to cultivate, process, manufacture, transport and sell marijuana and marijuana-infused products to other microbusiness facilities. With a microbusiness wholesale facility license, an individual may cultivate up to 250 flowering plants at once.

Microbusiness dispensary facilities and wholesale facilities can only work with other microbusinesses, not medical or comprehensive dispensary and wholesale facilities. A microbusiness licensee may apply for a comprehensive or medical marijuana facility license, but a comprehensive or medical marijuana licensee cannot apply for a microbusiness license. (Full Story)

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