With all of the licenses distributed for medical marijuana facilities, many are wondering what comes next. Facilities likely won’t open until late summer at the earliest, and the legal challenges are far from over. The next two hot button issues are arising still: the debate over transferring licenses and the potential for recreational legalization on the November ballot.
Not sure what to expect next? We’ve got the high points of what to expect in the medical marijuana sphere as we get into 2020.
The current licenses
In 2019, 348 licenses were distributed to business owners for the purpose of selling, testing, cultivating and transporting medical marijuana. Upon receiving the licenses, many expected to immediately sell the license to make a quick profit. Hearing this across the industry, the Department of Health and Senior Services issued a guidance letter that mentioned the restrictions on re-distributing a license. As of now, the rule states that a license cannot be transferred until the first day of 2021 if you do not already have a license. After this, the DHSS still must approve the transfer and ensure that the business is properly prepared to run a medical marijuana facility.
Since the Missouri program is so strictly regulated, getting a transfer approved may be difficult. Transfer applicants who do not already have a license will be held to the same standards as original applicants and, as of now, there is no method set to appeal a decision. Some minor changes may be possible — for instance, changes in ownership of less than 10% can go through along with business name changes. Larger changes like a change in location will be harshly scrutinized since it makes up so much of the application process.
Recreational use in Missouri
The same group who got Amendment 2 passed, Missourians for a New Approach, are currently collecting signatures in an attempt to get recreational marijuana legalized. If the petition receives 160,199 signatures before its May 3rd deadline, it will be on the November 2020 ballot. From there, citizens can vote to approve it in the same way that Amendment 2 was passed. If passed, the state estimates that it will generate revenues of anywhere between $93 million to $155 million by 2025.
Some key highlights of the bill include:
- Anyone 21 and up can have up to an ounce of cannabis on them at any time and can grow 3 flowering plants
- A 15% tax on all marijuana purchases that goes to roads and bridges, program regulation, drug abuse and prevention services, and veteran causes
- Clearing certain marijuana convictions
- Allowing microbusinesses in economically disadvantaged communities
It is expected that an application process similar to the medical program will arise, though there is not yet any guidance on how the state would manage the program if it were passed. If the law passes, it will not go into effect until at least late 2021 or 2022.
Do you need assistance managing your medical marijuana business?
Contact Reynolds & Gold. We’re here to guide you through the process of staying compliant and ensuring you hold onto your license.