Missouri regulators’ bill for adult use of cannabis
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) on Thursday released proposed regulations regulating the state’s adult use of cannabis, just two days after voters approved a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana.
Missouri voters ended cannabis prohibition with the passage of Amendment 3 on November 8, which was on the ballot for last week’s midterm elections. More than a million voters backed the amendment, which received more than 53% of the vote Monday morning with 99% of the votes tallied.
The successful amendment to the state’s constitution legalizes the possession, use, sale and supply of cannabis for personal use by adults 21 and older and establishes a 6% tax on commercial cannabis sales. The amendment also includes provisions to vacate certain marijuana-related convictions.
Just two days after voters went to the polls, the DHSS released its draft adult cannabis regulation and opened a public comment period to gather feedback on the proposal from interested parties. The public comment period is expected to run until Friday, November 25th.
The text of Constitutional Amendment 3 stipulates that the measure will come into force 30 days after it is passed, i.e. on December 8th. Lyndall Fraker, director of the DHSS’ medical marijuana division, said the agency began preparing the proposed rules before Election Day to meet the deadline if the election measure passes.
“Our legal team has been working on the rules for a couple of weeks now, so we’ve actually got these ready – the rough draft ready for public presentation – and I think you’ll see these in the next day or two and that’s important about these.” out there,” Fraker told local media.
License applications will be accepted starting next month
Under the proposal, beginning Dec. 8, the Department of Health’s Cannabis Regulation Division will begin accepting license applications from recreational cannabis retailers from the state’s existing medical marijuana dispensaries. Regulators will then have 60 days to approve license applications, meaning adult-use cannabis sales are due to begin no later than February 2023.
However, sales of legal recreational cannabis in Missouri could start even sooner. DHSS spokeswoman Lisa Cox told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that officials expect to convert medical marijuana dispensary licenses “before the 60-day deadline once we file comprehensive facility rules.”
“We anticipate that comprehensive pharmacies will be able to begin selling to adult consumers once their license to convert is approved,” Cox said.
Cox noted that the change will prevent DHSS from running “for 548 days after March 8.”
Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, said the timing of the planned launch “likely means Missouri will have one of the quickest and smoothest transitions to adult sales in the country.”
The rules provide for a total of 192 combined medical marijuana licenses and “comprehensive” dispensaries for adult use, to be distributed evenly among the state’s eight districts. The proposed rules also set a limit of 62 cannabis growers and 88 product manufacturers.
As of June 2023, the DHSS would accept applications for up to 144 cannabis micro-enterprises. Under the rules, a limit of 48 micro-business licenses spread across the state’s eight counties could be approved within the first 270 days.
Amendment 3 also legalizes home cultivation of cannabis for personal use by adults who receive a permit from the Division of Cannabis Regulation. Cox said the state “will begin accepting applications for personal cultivation for adult use in the first week of January or before the first week of January.”
Public comments on the proposed regulations for adult use of cannabis in Missouri may be submitted through the DHSS website.