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      The Legal Cannabis Market in Missouri: Where We Are and Where We’re Heading

      Missouri’s legislators assured the Show-Me State they were listening to their pleas with the November 2022 passage of Amendment 3, which officially legalized the sale of adult-use cannabis. The amendment came four years after 65 percent of Missouri voters said yes to medical cannabis – and less than three months later, Missourians can purchase adult-use cannabis at state dispensaries legally.

      Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services surprised consumers by declaring adult-use cannabis sales legal three days earlier than expected. If this legislative pivot threw off dispensary operators, it certainly didn’t show in the first weekend’s sales.

      The state raked in almost $13 million in cannabis sales in three days and is predicted to reach about $550 million by the end of the year – roughly $77 million more than medical-only sales earned in 2021.

      Despite being one of the later states to come online with an adult-use market, the Show-Me State shows the rest of the nation how to make up for lost time.

      Starting a canna-business in Missouri

      Whether you’re a Missouri-based medical cannabis operator, an MSO looking to expand, or a Show-Me State entrepreneur looking to enter into the adult-use cannabis space, you’re probably looking into what it takes to start a cannabis business in the newly-legal state.And rightfully so: a new market means plenty of opportunity to get in on the ground floor and set the initial tone for how regional operators will approach things.

      But like any other adult-use state in the nation, Missouri comes with its fair share of rules and regulations for canna-business compliance – and it all starts with obtaining a cannabis business license.

      No matter what state you reside in, adult-use license application processes are notoriously difficult to jump through, and Missouri definitely isn’t hoop-free. However, medical cannabis license holders had the first shot at applications and currently account for the operators selling legal adult-use cannabis.

      Beyond the initial license distribution, Amendment 3 has allowed an additional 144 “microbusiness” licenses to be applied for: a.k.a. a canna-business that engages in at least three commercial cannabis activities.

      The microbusiness application will cost $1,500 to complete, and whoever qualifies will be selected based on a lottery system. If you aren’t one of the lucky winners, application fees are fully refunded.

      Once you’ve obtained your cannabis business license, you’re essentially ready to open up shop – but there are still quite a few rules and regulations you’ll have to keep in mind if you want to stay compliant and successful.

      Here are some of the most notable rules for cannabis business operations Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services has come up with so far:

      • All Missourian adult-use dispensaries must obtain a certified cannabis POS and inventory management system for tracking and reporting, which the Department regularly reviews.
      • Physical inventory audits must also be conducted every quarter.
      • Dispensaries must connect to Metrc: a cannabis track and trace system that allows operators to report required data points to the Department.

      Remember that any missing steps in the compliance process can easily result in your business license being revoked or your application being tossed in the trash. So if you’re serious about profiting as a cannabis business in Missouri, you’ll want to follow these regulations closely and religiously.

      The state of the Missouri cannabis market

      With a quick regulation turnaround and a powerful first-weekend revenue performance, Missouri is expected to join the “billion-dollar cannabis market” club by 2024. Cannabis data and market intelligence company BDSA predicts the state will drive around $1.1 billion in revenue in 2024, growing to approximately $1.3 billion by 2026.

      The company also forecasts Missouri as a major player and contributor to the nationwide market as the state continues establishing itself in the space.

      “Legal cannabis spending slowed significantly in 2022 due to rapid price declines across all markets. Despite this, our updated forecast predicts strong growth in the U.S. driven by developing markets: particularly the adult-use markets of Missouri, New Jersey, and New York,” said BDSA Co-Founder and CEO Roy Bingham.

      Where the cannabis market in Missouri is heading

      Illinois alone has been a game-changer for the country’s Midwestern cannabis presence. With Missouri’s recent legalization and Ohio’s and Minnesota’s adult-use proposals for 2023, the collective cannabis community’s eyes are trained on America’s Heartland for next steps.

      Goliath cultivation MSO Cresco Labs is based in Chicago, and quite a few promising brands, dispensaries, and educational organizations have already established ground in Missouri: like high-end boutique shop Luxury Leaf, Black-owned members-only St. Louis Cannabis Club, and social equity resource center Canna Education Collective.

      This variety implies promise for the future of Missouri’s market beyond dispensaries earning revenue. While making money is vital for the success of canna-businesses – and the continued availability of products for consumers – establishing a robust community is just as crucial as providing citizens with comprehensive and insightful resources for continued cannabis education.

      Missouri cannabis market: one to watch

      Missouri dove into adult-use cannabis, and so far, the Midwestern market feels well-thought-out, quickly established, and promising as a shining example for the region.

      There aren’t many states left to make the adult-use legalization jump, and Missouri has both a good amount of national history to learn from when it comes to cannabis market dos and don’ts and a responsibility to the nation’s remaining states who are looking to establish an adult-use market of their own.

      The cannabis nation will watch as the Show-Me State continues to dole out licenses, offer new retail options to consumers, and inch its way closer to a billion-dollar prediction that experts are confident it can accomplish within the following year.

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