The first commercial cannabis license deadline coming up in January 2019

On December 6, 2018 Missouri’s new medical cannabis law will take effect, and although applications to grow, infuse, or dispense medical cannabis commercially won’t be available until as late as June 4, 2019, those interested in this industry need to pay attention to an often overlooked deadline – January 4, 2019 will be the first day to prepay the nonrefundable license application fee for the limited number of commercial licenses.

Amendment 2 allows the Department of Health and Senior Services to collect a nonrefundable license fee of $10,000 for each commercial growing facility license, $6,000 for each infusion facility license, and $6,000 for each dispensary license. An entity can hold as many as 3 growing, 3 infusion, and 5 dispensary licenses – the combined application fees for holding these 11 licenses would be $78,000.

Prepaying these fees isn’t just as simple as sending a check for $78,000 to the DHSS – those interested in seeking licenses need to keep in mind the complex scoring algorithm the DHSS will use to award licenses to applicants. Successful license applicants will maximize their score by vesting control in a board composed of experienced cannabis industry professionals and Missouri residents with related experience. Any entity holding licenses must be majority controlled by persons who have resided in Missouri for at least one year prior to the application date. Creating an entity with a small initial board of directors or incorporaters composed of 1 experienced industry professional and 2 Missouri residents with industry related experience to make the January 4, 2019 deadline while adding additional directors with relevant experience and qualifications (keeping majority control in the hands of Missouri residents) as the June application deadline approaches will be the winning strategy.