Last night, the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association hosted its first KC meetup. The standing-room-only crowd was packed with people eager to learn about the cannabis industry.
Several subject-matter experts from around the country were in attendance and they offered their insight on what to expect in Missouri. Here are the highlights.
Expect a lot of applicants. The number of applicants will far outweigh the initial number of licenses awarded, (i.e., cultivation, dispensary, fusion, and testing). It will be a highly competitive process as people vie for a license.
But rest assured, the selection process will be based entirely on merit, ensuring that all applicants remain on equal footing.
With that said, industry experts from around the country have already laid the groundwork to obtain licensing in Missouri. It is therefore paramount that if you want to have a shot at securing a license, you consult with industry experts and have a team fully stocked and ready to start your business. It is also necessary that you have lots of cash, investors, and a robust business plan that fully satisfies the criteria dictated by the Department. (See here for the factors used by the Department to numerically score competing applicants.)
The Department is Fully Committed to Meeting all Deadlines. The Department of Health, which is charged with the task of implementing Amendment 2, has expressed its commitment to ensure that all deadlines set forth in Amendment 2 are achieved.
That means, the Department will be meeting this timeline:
In turn, that again highlights that if you want a shot at being awarded a license you need to have your business plan, investors, and consultants lined up well in advance. Get to work! And check the Department’s website regularly for updates.
Regulations are Currently Being Drafted. With guidance from MoCannTrade and others, the Department is currently in the process of drafting the rules and regulations that will give meat to the bones of Amendment 2. Two items in particular, mentioned last night, are of interest.
First, there may be a short window (e.g., 2-7 days) to submit your application to obtain a license. That is, because the Department is expecting an avalanche of applicants, it may have to limit the number of applications during the first phase so that the evaluators are able to fully vet each applicant and award licenses within the Department’s 150-day deadline. For example, if the Department implements this proposal, applications will be accepted starting on August 3, 2019, as planned. But the Department may only accept, or at least review, applications received between August 3, and say, August 7. All applications received during this window will be eligible for being awarded one of the 342 licenses (i.e., 192 (dispensary) 87 (infused) 61 (cultivation) 2 (testing)). Once again, this means you must be fully prepared and ready to submit your application on or before August 3, 2019, if you want to have a shot at being awarded a license.
Second, Amendment 2 allows for the filing of pre-application fees starting on January 5, 2019. This is meant to help fund the Department in its efforts of implementing Amendment 2. It will not give you a competitive advantage by paying this fee in advance since the awarding process will be based entirely on merit. If anything, paying in advance may give you the peace of mind that your non-refundable fee has been paid, received and cleared. It may also give you a psychological boost knowing that you now have real skin in the game.
Join MoCannTrade. If you are serious about becoming a player in Missouri’s medical marijuana industry, it is obvious that you need to join this trade association. The benefits far outweigh the membership costs to join. Take a moment to review the Association’s website and the many benefits being a member provides: https://www.mocanntrade.org/. The old adage, penny wise pound foolish, definitely applies when making business decisions in the cannabis industry. Being part of MoCannTrade will give you a leg up on your competition and it will ensure you are up-to-date on every rule and regulation proposed and published by the Department. Simply put, join now!
Exciting times are ahead in Missouri. Buckle up because developments are happening at lightening speed and you do not want to get left behind.