Missouri announces lottery results for microbusiness cannabis licenses

More than 1,600 people applied, with the 4th Congressional district having the most applicants and the 1st district having the least

By: - August 29, 2023 12:23 pm

Tiffany (left) and Anwar (middle) Lee at an outreach event in St. Louis on June 22, 2023, where the state’s new chief equity officer, Abigail Vivas (in green), went through all the eligibility requirements for the cannabis microbusiness program (Rebecca Rivas/Missouri Independent).

The state began the process of doling out small-scale cannabis business licenses on Monday, announcing the winners of a lottery determining who gets to participate in Missouri’s microbusiness program

Six winners were selected in each of Missouri’s eight Congressional districts. 

Of the six in each district, two will be microbusiness dispensaries, and four will be microbusiness wholesale facilities – where the owners can grow up to 250 plants.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, which oversees the state’s marijuana program, posted the results on Monday evening. 

The microbusiness program is meant to boost opportunities in the industry for businesses in disadvantaged communities, and it was part of the constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana that voters passed in November. 

Missouri Congressional districts (Missouri Secretary of State’s Office.)

In total, 1,625 people applied during the application period July 27 to Aug. 10. The congressional district with the most applicants at 251 was the 4th District, which includes the central western portion of the state. 

The one with the least was the 1st District, which includes the City of St. Louis, with 143 applicants. In the St. Louis district, most of the applicants were for the dispensary licenses at 122, and 21 were for the wholesale licenses. 

The 3rd district, which encompassed central western Missouri, had the most wholesale applicants at 144. 

There are seven categories where people could qualify for a microbusiness license, ranging from a lower income level or living in an area considered impoverished to having past arrests or incarcerations related to marijuana offenses. 

The state has not yet said which categories were the most prevalent in the applications, but it will likely be included in the chief equity officer’s annual report due by Jan. 1.

What happens now is the department will review the top drawn applicants to verify the information within the application is complete and demonstrates eligibility for a microbusiness license.

“During this review, the department may request additional information or documents be provided by the applicant before a license is issued,” according to a Aug. 28 press release from the department. “Applicants will have three business days to provide the requested information or the application will be subject to denial.” 

After the review process, the state will issue the licenses no later than Oct. 4, according to the release.

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Rebecca Rivas
Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas is a multimedia reporter who covers Missouri's cannabis industry. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she has been reporting in Missouri since 2001, including more than a decade as senior reporter and video producer at the St. Louis American, the nation’s leading African-American newspaper.