How to Open a Dispensary in Missouri

How to open dispensary in missouri

Are you thinking about opening a recreational cannabis dispensary in Missouri? Congratulations!

Missouri legalized medical cannabis in 2018 and adult-use cannabis in 2022, with sales officially starting in February of 2023. The Show Me State was the 21st state to legalize cannabis for adult-use.

With 200+ active dispensaries, Missouri’s cannabis industry is thriving. It’s overseen by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). Here's where you can find Missouri’s cannabis laws.

This guide will outline how to open a dispensary in Missouri, including information on licensing, financing, real estate, security, staffing, compliance, inventory, and tech stack.

Scroll through for a step-by-step process for opening a dispensary in Missouri, or use the links on the left to jump directly to your most pressing questions.

Disclaimer: Always consult your lawyer, accountant, realtor, and other trusted consultants to help you navigate the complexities of opening a cannabis dispensary. Flowhub aims to illustrate and educate but is not to be construed as legal or financial advice.

Plan your Missouri cannabis dispensary

The first step for future dispensary operators in Missouri is to understand the applicant cycle and how cannabis dispensary licenses are issued. As of recreational cannabis legalization in Missouri in 2022, there are two types of cannabis retail licenses: microbusiness licenses and comprehensive licenses.

Microbusiness licenses are smaller than comprehensive licenses and are only eligible for applicants who meet certain eligibility requirements.

48 new cannabis licenses will be awarded in early 2025, and a portion of these licenses will be retail microbusiness licenses. Currently, Missouri has no active plans to issue further comprehensive licenses, but that is subject to change at any time.

If you’re going for a micro dispensary license in Missouri in early 2025, now is the time to prepare for your application.

In a market like Missouri, a strong application is critical to ensuring you're competitive. You’ll need to understand Missouri’s cannabis laws, create your formal business entity, write a business plan, find a location, and prepare to submit your license application.

Can dispensaries use banks?

Write a business plan for your Missouri dispensary

Cannabis is a complicated industry, with more compliance and legal considerations than other types of businesses. Having a rock-solid business plan can help ensure you are set up for success, especially in a market like Missouri, where dispensary licenses are limited. Your application needs to be competitive and not skip any details.

It may be tempting to bypass this step, but your dispensary business plan must be submitted to the DHSS as part of your application.

A good business plan should include:

  • The physical location of your dispensary

  • Funding plan, or where your startup and ongoing capital will come from

  • Sourcing plan for procuring your cannabis products

  • Revenue projections

  • Estimate the actual number of employees, or who you’ll hire for what roles, and your dispensary org chart

  • Diversity and equity plans

  • Marketing plan (contrary to popular belief, cannabis doesn’t just sell itself!)

  • Safety and security plan

  • Technology plan, including which cannabis point-of-sale and compliance software you’ll use to manage your dispensary

  • Any other relevant information you want to document

Missouri requires applicants to submit a site plan and a business plan. A site plan must include schematic diagrams for all entries, exits, customer service areas, camera locations, and limited entry areas.

dispensary business plan template

As mentioned above, a comprehensive and competitive business plan should include information on competitive analysis, sales strategy, marketing plan, financial plan, operations plan, and timelines and milestones for your objectives.


  • Missouri is a limited license market.
  • Having a rock-solid business plan can help ensure you are set up for success.
  • A good business plan will include the physical location of your dispensary, plans for funding, point-of-sale plans, and more.

Find a cannabis dispensary location in Missouri

Your dispensary location is a critical piece of the puzzle, but it's not an easy one. You’ll need something in a visible location with ample parking and enough space to achieve your ideal workflow.

But most importantly, it needs to be in a municipality that accepts cannabis businesses. Missouri municipalities have varying requirements for cannabis retail stores within their borders.

Typically, you must register with the municipality, obtain a local business permit or license, and receive approval to locate your business in an appropriate zoning district. Speak to the local authorities for specific municipality requirements.

Municipalities may also adopt reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of operation for cannabis businesses (so long as they don’t prohibit the establishment or operation of the business).

Though individual counties and cities may establish their own zoning and setback requirements, Missouri regulations prohibit dispensaries from being within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare center, or church.

You will be required to provide a proposed location—that is compliant with all regulations—when you apply for a dispensary license. You are not required to own, lease, etc., the proposed location at the time of the application.

Find a local real estate professional who specializes in cannabis real estate to help in your search. And use the public resources available, such as city zoning and administration offices.

When looking for a location for your dispensary, focus on spaces that:

  • Align with your business plan

  • Are large enough to meet your needs

  • Are in an appropriate location to serve foot traffic

  • Have enough parking

  • Have opportunities for expansion/growth

  • Are within your budget

Don’t just look at monthly costs, but also factor in how much it’ll take to renovate or retrofit the space for your business needs. Finally, look at local competition (both existing and planned).

Finding the perfect location for your retail dispensary involves many factors. Take the time necessary to secure the best possible space to help ensure your success.


  • Consider Missouri's location requirements when choosing where to open your dispensary.
  • Missouri doesn't require applicants to lease or own the proposed location at the time of application.
  • When you think of costs, think beyond just your monthly spending and consider any building changes you'll need to make before opening.

Secure funding for your Missouri cannabis dispensary

Now that you have a plan for your new recreational use dispensary, you can create a more specific budget and plan.

A cannabis business can generally expect expenses in these categories:

  • Real estate and build-out - consider your initial costs, plus ongoing rent or mortgage. You’ll probably also have renovation expenses to start.

  • Licensing/application fees - the cost of getting licensed to run a dispensary in Missouri. You’ll also need to plan for your annual and renewal fees—$7,672.28 for retailers annually and $18,632.68 every third year.

  • Operational costs - your day-to-day business operating expenses, including, but not limited to, utilities, business or professional fees, marketing, etc.

  • Hardware, software, security, and other tech - many of these are monthly or annual subscriptions but may include more sizable startup costs.

  • Staffing costs - the cost of hiring employees, including salaries, benefits, taxes, etc.

  • Inventory costs - or the actual expense of sourcing and purchasing your cannabis products. You’ll need to have enough stock on your shelves for opening day and beyond.

  • Taxes - cannabis businesses are heavily taxed and can’t participate in normal business write-offs like 280E, so plan ahead for your quarterly tax payments.

Do you have a plan for where this money will come from? As a cannabis entrepreneur, remember that you don’t have the same funding options as a traditional entrepreneur.

Cannabis businesses don’t qualify for SBA loans or similar because of the federal legality, but there are still loan options available.

As a hopeful cannabis dispensary operator in Missouri, you have a few options for funding:

  • Self-funding - the easiest option is to already have access to capital (acquired through legal means).

  • Friends and family - another potentially easy way to meet dispensary capital requirements is through loans or investments from family and/or friends.

  • Partners - many cannabis businesses are legally set up as partnerships, where each partner contributes something meaningful. Partners can be silent (they primarily serve as the funder), or active; both are great if they serve your needs. Be sure to check eligibility requirements to ensure your partnership meets the criteria to apply for a license.

  • Loans - depending on your personal finances, you may be eligible for a personal loan to cover some (or all) of the upfront costs of opening a dispensary. You may also be able to secure a dispensary business loan, but remember to be honest with your lender about how the funds will be used; not all financial institutions will work with cannabis businesses.

  • Private funds - whether it’s private equity, angel investors, or venture capital, you may have to look to outside investors to fund your cannabis business. This option will decrease your ownership stake in your company. This is a popular option in the cannabis industry and has yielded great results for many entrepreneurs!

  • Crowdfunding - another less-popular but potentially viable option is to look to the general population to support your business venture.

  • Brokers - cannabis-specific brokerage companies can help you find funding for startup expenses, equipment, and more. FundCanna is one option for Missouri dispensary businesses.

opening a dispensary

What does it cost to open a dispensary in Missouri?

Most sources suggest having between $250,000 – $1 million+ to open a dispensary.

But that’s not all that helpful. Here’s a formula to give you a sense of what to expect. You can come back and fill in the details as you know your unique estimates.

Note: This estimate is for a comprehensive license. Micro businesses have a separate process and fees.

Application and annual fees for cannabis retailers in Missouri = $15,344.56

  • Dispensary new application fee = $7,672.28
    • Due when the application is submitted.

    • This fee is non-refundable.

  • Annual Fee = $7,672.28 every year
    • The first annual fee is due 30 days after a license is issued.

    • Then is due annually on that same date as the initial annual fee.

  • Renewal Fee = $10,960.40
    • Due every three years.

    • Annual fees are still required on renewal years.

Note: Microbusiness licenses have a reduced $1,500 application fee. The annual and renewal rates are also $1,500.

Real estate fees = $150,000

  • Includes annual rent or mortgage premiums, plus upfront design costs.

  • Will be higher in more expensive cities, like St. Louis, or for larger remodels, or cheaper in more affordable areas of the state.

  • Plan for higher costs up-front, but it’ll stabilize over time to just rent/mortgage and maintenance/repairs.

Employee salaries = $300,000

Your store size and operating procedures will determine how many initial staff members you’ll need, but plan for around six employees to start, including a manager, several budtenders, and an inventory specialist. This figure includes an average of $20/hour, plus overtime, benefits, etc.

Professional fees and services = $50,000

This may decrease in future years, but to start, expect to pay for legal, financial, insurance, and other professional consulting fees to get your business started.

Security, hardware, and software = $50,000

This covers all network, security, hardware, and software for your business, including computers, TVs, printers, scanners, internet, and other software like POS, ecommerce, payments, etc.

After your initial investment, plan for at least $2,000 per month in recurring software expenses.

Marketing expenses = $100,000

Perhaps the most variable of your costs when opening a cannabis business, this factors in one full-time marketing staff person (or agency costs per year), plus costs for your website, ads, printing, etc. to promote the dispensary.

Cannabis products = $1,500 per pound

Your cost of products for opening day (plus ongoing stocking) will vary greatly based on your store size, number of SKUs, stock on hand, and supplier rates, but plan for an average of $1,500 per pound of cannabis products, including flower, edibles, vape cartridges, tinctures, topicals, lotions, capsules, beverages, prerolls, etc.

GRAND TOTAL = $665,344* (not including cannabis product inventory)

*Disclaimer: This is a rough estimate of the upfront and first-year costs of opening a cannabis dispensary in Missouri. It is to be used for informational and illustrative purposes only, as every market, location, and business will have unique startup costs.


    • Microbusiness applicants in Missouri pay a reduced application fee of $1,500.
    • Account for additional expenses like product fees, real estate fees, and marketing expenses as you build your funding plans.

    Apply for a Missouri recreational dispensary license

    To open a dispensary in Missouri, you’ll need a license to be able to possess, sell, or deliver cannabis. There are two types of dispensary licenses in Missouri:

    1. Comprehensive = This license permits a marijuana facility to participate in both the medical and adult-use marijuana markets. Note: Existing medical licensees may apply to convert to a comprehensive licensee.

    2. Microbusiness = This license permits a marijuana facility to participate in both the medical and adult-use marijuana markets. But it’s only available to businesses where the majority-ownership applicants have a net worth not exceeding $250,000, are veterans with a service-connected disability, have been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted of a non-violent marijuana offense for at least one year, or who live in a disadvantaged area. Note that Missouri residency is not required to apply for a microbusiness dispensary facility license.

    The basics of applying for a cannabis license in MO

    • To open a dispensary in Missouri, you need a dispensary license.

    • Missouri limits the number of available licenses, which makes competition fierce. They have added more licenses, but it’s limited to a set timeline. Watch the DHSS website for details on the next licensing round.

    • The microbusiness license program is designed to give underrepresented people and those impacted by the War on Drugs a competitive opportunity in the Missouri market.

    How to get a dispensary license in Missouri

    The DHSS website has a page dedicated to the application process, and a thorough microbusiness application user guide, but here are the basics:

    1. Applicants must submit all required information through the online portal and pay the application fee. To start, create an account at

    2. View the application checklist and gather the required documents and information.

    3. Applicants must “Create an Application” and upload the following information

      • Personal details and contact information, including name, address, email address, date of birth, and the type of application you’re submitting.

      • Detailed information about the management structure, ownership, and control, including the names and ownership percentages of all stakeholders, including name, date of birth, voting interest, social security number, email address, residential address, and city of residence

      • Proof of legal business name and copies of partnership agreement, operating agreement, tax ID, or shareholder agreement (if applicable)

      • Facility location information, including congressional district, GPS coordinates, address, and legal property description of the business

      • Site and security plan, including diagrams of all rooms, their purpose, and square footage, plus entries, exits, customer service areas, camera locations, and limited entry areas. See this blueprint example.

      • Business plan including competitive analysis, sales and marketing strategy, org chart, financial plan, operations plan, training plans, and milestones for the project.

      • Designated agents for communication

      • Proof of eligibility for microbusiness license

      • A valid government ID

      • If applicable, links to local government requirements applicable to the proposed location.

      4. All complete applications received by the department submitted during the application period will be approved or denied within one hundred fifty (150) days of that application’s complete submission. The registered user will receive a notification by email of a change in application status. Do not contact the department; you can check the status of your application using the online portal.

      5. The state will conduct a lottery to choose which applicants receive a license. If you are selected, your application will be reviewed. You may need to make edits and/or provide additional information during this process.

      6. Applicants who are awarded licenses will need to pay the license fee within thirty days.

      7. Before opening, licensees will need to pass a commencement inspection. Facilities will perform a mock sale to demonstrate that their chosen state-certified seed-to-sale platform is operational and integrated into the statewide track and trace system.

      Note: If you have an existing medical marijuana dispensary in Missouri, you will follow a separate process to convert your med-only business to a comprehensive license. The full process is listed here.

      Design your Missouri dispensary

      Dispensary design isn’t just about where your dispensary is or what it looks like. It’s about how your shopper experiences and interacts with your brand. That’s what makes you memorable!

      Pictured above: The bank model – a common dispensary layout

      Here’s a short list of your considerations for in-store design and layout:

      • How customers will move throughout the store

      • Whether they will pay at a terminal, handheld device, or kiosk

      • Whether there are different pathways for in-store vs. online orders

      • How your products will be displayed/showcased

      • Your brand elements and design

      • Use of entry or waiting room space

      • Security concerns about doorways

      • Where secure inventory is stored (both on the floor, if applicable, and in a vault)

      • Where staff will stand and work

      • Breakroom or safe staff area

      • Bathrooms

      🤔 Take the Store Layouts Quiz to find the perfect layout for your dispensary.

      Missouri also has several specific requirements that may impact how your dispensary looks and functions:

      • Dispensary licensees must design their facility and staffing in such a way as to accomplish the following:
        • The general public may only enter the facility through one public access point into an area where facility agents shall screen individuals for qualifying patient, primary caregiver, or consumer status. No marijuana product may be accessible in this area. Drive-through or pickup windows shall not constitute an additional access point to the facility.
        • No one under the age of twenty-one may enter any areas beyond the facility’s public access point area unless the individual is a qualifying patient or accompanying a parent or guardian who is a qualifying patient, primary caregiver, or consumer.
        • In any limited access area where marijuana products are accessible within the facility, the licensee must have at least one facility agent present for every three consumers, qualifying patients, or primary caregivers combined. A facility agent serving a consumer, qualifying patient, or primary caregiver at a drive-through window or pick-up window is not available to accompany a consumer, qualifying patient, or primary caregiver in the limited access area as long as the staff person is serving the drive-through or pickup window consumer, qualifying patient, or primary caregiver.
        • Licensees may not allow the sale of marijuana products or marijuana accessories to be visible from a public place outside of the facility without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids.
        • Dispensary facilities may securely display samples of each marijuana product offered for sale, though samples may not be dispensed to consumers or patients. A facility agent may remove the sample from the secure display to allow a consumer, qualifying patient or primary caregiver to inspect the display sample but shall immediately return the sample to the secure display once such inspection is complete. Display samples shall be destroyed in accordance with this chapter within five business days of the inventory associated with the mandatory test sample tag number being finished.
        • All products not on display must be stored in a secure area.
      • Drive-through lanes and pickup windows are permitted but must:
        • Utilize drawers or pneumatic tubes for dispensing marijuana product
        • Provide clear visibility of the consumer, qualifying patient, or primary caregiver for verification of identity. Drive-through and pick-up windows must either be constructed so that they do not open or remain closed and locked at all times.
        • Be covered at all times by video camera monitoring and recording that meets the standards.
      • Dispensary facilities must post a department-approved sign at each point of egress and on, beside, or immediately above all drive-through drawers that convey the following warning: “It is against the law to operate a dangerous device, motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana.”

      • Dispensary licensees must make available to all consumers, qualifying patients, and primary caregivers educational materials, whether digital or print, that include at least the following:
        • Local resources for concerns about addiction, including the phone number for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline

        • Information about potential risks and possible side effects of marijuana use, including:
          • Marijuana use affects brain functioning and is likely to cause physical and mental impairment

          • Those who consume marijuana should not operate a motor vehicle or other similar equipment

          • Women who are or may become pregnant or are breastfeeding should avoid using marijuana as it may cause pregnancy complications, harm a baby’s development, and result in a lower birth weight.

          • Secondhand smoke from marijuana can have psychoactive effects and should be avoided for all children.

          • The risk of poisoning and the phone number for the Missouri Poison Center

        • Information about the different ways to administer marijuana products and the differences in the anticipated time frames for the marijuana product to take effect

        • The department’s contact information and website address

      • Licenses shall be displayed within twenty feet of the main entrance to a facility at all times.

      • Consumption of marijuana products on licensed premises, including in any approved transport vehicles, is prohibited. All licensees shall post a sign at the employee and public access points to the facility that consumption of marijuana products is not allowed on the licensed premises.

      • There is no requirement for a physical separation between a facility’s access point and the waiting room. The only requirement for physical separation is between the waiting room and any limited access area where marijuana is accessible. Licensees must be able to ensure that only qualifying patients, primary caregivers, consumers, and children under the age of twenty-one accompanying qualifying patients, primary caregivers, or consumers may enter the limited access area where marijuana is accessible after screening by facility agents.

      • All retail sales of items other than marijuana products are subject to any otherwise applicable laws, including retail sales taxes and licenses. Any non-marijuana product may not be displayed or sold in the limited access area where marijuana products are located and must be displayed in a manner that clearly communicates that the non-marijuana product is not regulated.

      Create a safe and secure Missouri dispensary

      All medical and marijuana facility licensees shall ensure the security of marijuana products and the facility by taking security measures and maintaining security equipment as follows:

      • Devices or a series of devices to detect unauthorized intrusion, which may include a signal system interconnected with a radio frequency method, such as cellular or private radio signals, or other mechanical or electronic devices

      • Except in the case of outdoor cultivation, exterior lighting to facilitate surveillance, which shall cover the exterior of all buildings and the perimeter of the facility

      • Electronic video monitoring, which shall include video cameras with a recording resolution of at least 1920 x 1080p, or the equivalent, capable of recording videos at a rate of at least fifteen frames per second, that operate in such a way as to provide continuous monitoring and allow identification of people and activities in all lighting levels, and that are capable of being accessed remotely at all times by the department or a law enforcement agency in real time. The use of motion detection as a method of continuous monitoring is not permitted where marijuana products are or will be present. Remote access shall be accomplished through HTTP access or another department-approved format.

      • Video cameras must provide coverage of:
        • All facility building entry and exit points, including windows

        • All areas of the facility and facility premises where marijuana is or will be present

        • Each point-of-sale location

        • All vaults or safes where marijuana product is stored

        • Any area on facility premises, including offsite warehouses and transport vehicles, where a seed-to-sale system or the state-wide track and trace system are accessed

        • The entire perimeter of the facility, including at least twenty feet of space around the perimeter of an outdoor grow area

        • All marijuana products, from at least two angles, where it is grown, cultivated, manufactured, sampled for testing, tested, stored, weighed, packaged, processed for sale, sold/distributed, rendered unusable, disposed, or loaded for transport

      🔐 Learn more about dispensary security

      Read the Dispensary Security Guide to find out where most dispensaries are at risk, then take action with best practices for both physical security and cybersecurity.

      • All activities subject to video camera monitoring shall occur only in areas of the facility that are covered by the required video monitoring.

      • Licensees shall ensure that each video camera used:
        • Includes a date and time generator which accurately displays the date and time of recorded events on the recording in a manner that does not significantly obstruct the recorded view

        • Is installed in a manner that prevents the video camera from being readily obstructed, tampered with, or disabled

        • Is cabled and does not solely operate via wifi.

      • Video recording equipment must also include at least one call-up monitor that is at least nineteen inches.

      • Facilities must have a printer capable of immediately producing a clear, color, still photo from any video camera image.

      • Licensees shall store recordings from the video cameras for at least sixty days in a secure location or through a service or network that allows for providing copies of the recordings, in a department-approved format, upon request and at the expense of the licensee.
        • The licensee shall provide the department with proof of a working storage mechanism upon request of the department and at the expense of the licensee.

        • If the licensee changes its recording storage mechanism, the licensee must provide the department with notification of such change and proof that the new storage mechanism is capable of storing all recordings for at least sixty days within ten days of said change.

        • Video storage must be encrypted.

      • Facilities shall have a failure notification system that provides audible and visual notification of any failure in the electronic video monitoring system.

      • Facilities shall have sufficient battery backup for video cameras and recording equipment to support at least sixty minutes of recording in the event of a power outage.

      • Dispensary storefronts must be equipped with:
        • Manual, silent alarms affixed at each point-of-sale, reception area, vault, warehouse, and electronic monitoring station with the capability of alerting local law enforcement agencies immediately of an unauthorized breach of security at the facility.

        • Security film or shatter-proof glass on glass doors and storefronts.

        • Vaults that prevent access to unauthorized individuals through both physical and electronic security measures.

        • A method of immediate, automatic notification to alert local law enforcement agencies of an unauthorized breach of security at the facility.

        • Controlled entry to limited access areas shall be controlled by electronic card access systems, like biometric identification systems, or other equivalent means, except that, in addition to these means, all external access doors shall be equipped with a locking mechanism that may be used in case of power failure. Access information shall be recorded, and all records of entry shall be maintained for at least one year.

      • Licensees shall establish and follow policies and procedures:
        • Restrict access to the areas of the facility that contain marijuana products to only facility agents who are employees, contractors, owners having access to a medical or marijuana facility, and volunteers of the facility. Individuals without an agent identification card may be present when necessary for legitimate business purposes if they sign in and sign out of a visitor log and are escorted at all times by facility agents in a ratio of no less than one facility agent per five visitors.

        • For identifying persons authorized to be in the areas of the facility that contain marijuana products.

        • For identifying facility agents responsible for inventory control activities.

        • For monitoring the security of the facility.

        • For the use of automatic or electronic notification and manual, silent alarms to alert local law enforcement agencies of an unauthorized breach of security at the facility, including the designation of on-call facility personnel to respond to, and to be available to law enforcement personnel responding to any alarms.

        • For keeping local law enforcement and the department updated on whether the facility employs armed security personnel and how those personnel can be identified on sight.

      • Licensees shall notify the department within twenty-four hours after a security system malfunction is discovered and shall make a reasonable effort to repair a malfunction of any security equipment within seventy-two hours after the malfunction is discovered.
        • A malfunction occurs when any piece of security equipment fails to work as designed or intended, for more than sixty seconds, either through defect, power outage, security breach, internet outage, compromise, or other reason.

        • If the electronic video monitoring malfunctions, the licensee shall immediately provide alternative video camera coverage or use other security measures until video camera coverage can be restored, such as assigning additional supervisory or security personnel, to provide for the security of the facility. If the licensee uses other security measures, the licensee must immediately notify the department.

        • Each licensee shall maintain a log that documents each malfunction and repair of the security equipment of the facility. The log must state the date, time, and nature of each malfunction; the efforts taken to repair the malfunction and the date of each effort; the reason for any delay in repairing the malfunction; the date the malfunction is repaired and; if applicable, any alternative security measures that were taken. The log must list, by date and time, all communications with the department concerning each malfunction and corrective action. The facility shall maintain the log for at least one year after the date of the last entry in the log.

      • The licensee shall notify the department at least twenty-four hours before the planned outage and provide a plan for facility and product security during the outage. For a planned security outage occurring in fewer than twenty-four (24) hours, the licensee shall notify the department as soon as a security issue requiring an outage is discovered.

      • Each licensee shall employ a security manager who shall be responsible for:
        • Conducting a semi-annual audit of all security measures. The semi-annual audit shall be an evaluation of the security of the facility, including warehouses, equipment, procedures, and training, as well as the facility’s compliance with this rule. Audits shall take place at least five months apart. Security audit records shall be kept for at least five years.

        • Training employees on security measures, emergency response, and theft prevention and response within one week of hiring and on an annual basis.

        • Evaluating the credentials of any contractors or other individuals who intend to provide services to the facility before the contractor or individual is hired by or enters into a contract with the licensee.

        • Evaluating the credentials of any third party who intends to provide security to the facility before the third party is hired by or enters into a contract with the facility.

      Hire and retain dispensary staff

      Now that opening day is approaching, it’s time to hire and train your dispensary employees. This team is vital to the success of your dispensary.

      First, create your dispensary org chart. Based on your business plan, location, store design, and vision, what role will you play in day-to-day operations, and what additional staff do you need? What is the hierarchy? What benefits will you offer? Do you have the funds to pay your staff appropriately?

      How to Create a Dispensary Org Chart

      As a starting point, you’ll need someone to manage your store, budtenders or cannabis sales associates to serve customers and fulfill orders, someone to greet your shoppers (and secure the entryway), security, and someone to manage inventory and/or compliance. Based on the size and complexity of your business, you might need more or fewer people on your team.

      Be sure to understand Missouri’s ordinances around hiring and staffing and follow all requirements, both specific to cannabis brands and general hiring/staffing rules. These could include procuring cannabis employment IDs, processing fingerprints and background checks, age requirements, and mandating attendance of certification training, payroll taxes, at-will parameters, and more.

      In Missouri, all staff need an Agent ID. The ID costs $75, is nonrefundable, and is valid for three years.

      Understand compliance

      At this point, you should understand Missouri cannabis laws and how to stay compliant.

      Dispensaries cannot sell, deliver, or give away cannabis or cannabis products to anyone under the age of twenty-one, or any visibly intoxicated individual. Valid identification and proof of age is required.

      As a reminder, here are the purchase limits for Missouri:

      • Up to three (3) ounces may be purchased in a single transaction.

      • Consumers may be in possession of up to three ounces of marijuana at any time, including dried, processed marijuana or its equivalent.

      The Seed-to-Sale Tracking program chosen by the DHSS is Metrc. Metrc offers a wealth of education and training for new and prospective dispensary owners. We recommend attending those trainings and taking advantage of the Missouri-specific resources provided by Metrc.

      Cannabis stores in Missouri are required to track all adult-use cannabis and cannabis products at every stage of their lifecycle.

      This includes all transportation to the store up until the point of being sold to a customer, delivered to a testing facility, or disposed of/destroyed.

      It’s imperative that licensees use Metrc to the fullest extent possible and integrate it with their POS and inventory management software to ensure compliance.

      Flowhub can meet all the state’s requirements for product intake and control. We’ll talk more about your software vendors in a moment.

      To learn more about Metrc, including how to report to Metrc, the difference between plant and package tags, making sense of Metrc receipts, managing inventory, and more, consult these resources:

      Source and intake cannabis products

      Now’s when things really start getting fun: ordering and receiving your product! Since vertical integration is prohibited in Missouri (with exceptions), you’ll need to find cannabis growers, manufacturers, and/or distributors to supply your store.

      In Missouri, you are allowed to sell:

      • Cannabis flower

      • Marijuana seeds and clones

      • Edibles

      • Concentrates

      • Beverages

      • Topicals

      • Cannabis paraphernalia

      • Non-cannabis items

      As you look for suppliers in Missouri, there are several things to keep in mind:

      • What products do they carry (think about your product mix)

      • The taste and quality of the products

      • Prices (including the ability to negotiate bulk discounts)

      • Fulfillment (how they get products to you and when)

      • Testing processes and results

      • Reliability (will they run out suddenly, stop communicating, etc.)

      • Process for placing orders and overall organization

      You also need to ensure your suppliers are licensed facilities, as you cannot order supplies from unlicensed distributors and are in good standing with the state. All products must comply with packaging and label requirements.

      Budtenders showing dispensary customers cannabis products

      Intake and store inventory

      Now that your inventory arrives at your store for opening day, you must “intake” those products correctly.

      Once your cannabis products arrive, you must “intake” them into your store in a specific way to remain compliant with Metrc.

      You must receive and review a manifest before bringing physical inventory into your store. The manifest is created by the supplier, which may be you or other cannabis companies.

      The manifest includes the harvest, weight, unit of measure, cost, etc., of the product.

      You must review the manifest and, if everything is correct, accept it. When the package arrives, you'll physically inspect it and make sure it’s exactly as ordered.

      You then accept it in Metrc, which tells Metrc that you are in legal possession of this inventory.

      Now, you can stock your shelves and sell the product. But you’ll also need to develop SOPs for taking and auditing your inventory.

      Pro tip: Use this 📝 Inventory Intake SOP to document your processes!


      Here are the basic regulations for marijuana product packaging:

      • No marijuana product may be manufactured, packaged, or labeled falsely or misleadingly, such as by inaccurately representing product ingredients.

      • No marijuana product or packaging may be designed using the shape or any part of the shape of a human, animal, or fruit, including realistic, artistic, caricature, or cartoon renderings.

      • No marijuana product or packaging may be designed in such a way as to cause confusion between a marijuana product and any product not containing marijuana, such as where products or packaging are visually similar to any commercially similar product that does not contain marijuana.

      • All marijuana product packaging (except marijuana seeds and plants) shall be resealable, opaque, and certified as child-resistant.

      • All marijuana product packaging (except marijuana seeds and plants) shall be constructed from FDA-approved food contact substances.

      • Marijuana products shall not be packaged in a manner that exceeds three ounces of dried, unprocessed marijuana or its equivalent.

      • Product packaging may not be designed in a manner such that the required elements for packaging and labeling are easily removed or separated from the package, such as placing required information on the part of the package that must be removed to access the product.

      • All marijuana product packaging designs, including that for exit packaging, may only utilize the following:
        • Limited colors, including a primary color as well as up to two logos or symbols of a different color or colors, whether images or text, including brand, licensee, or company logos, provided that the widest part of a logo or symbol is no wider than the length or height, whichever is greater, of the word “Marijuana” on the packaging
        • A product name
        • Text indicating side effects and behavioral effects of usage
        • A label required by this rule
        • A QR code linking to a website where a purchaser can learn more about the product.


      Labeling requirements apply to containers, wrappers, packages, and methods of administration that contain marijuana products, except seeds or plants.

      All marijuana products shall be clearly and conspicuously labeled with “Marijuana” printed at least as large as any other words used, as well as a prominently displayed universal symbol in red and white print that consists of the following:

      • A diamond containing the letters “THC”

      • The letter “M” is located under the “THC” within the diamond

      The following information must also be included on labels:

      • The number of milligrams of THC in the package, placed directly under the diamond.

      • All active and other ingredients, which shall not include groupings of ingredients that obscure the actual ingredients, such as “natural flavors” or “botanically derived terpenes,” shall include solvents used in the manufacturing process.

      • Servings and doses per package for marijuana licensees or doses per package for medical licensees.

      • A “best if used by” date.

      • The license number of the licensed entity from which the final marijuana product originated.

      • The testing licensee, where the final marijuana product passes mandatory testing,

      • The state-wide track and trace system tag number is associated with the mandatory testing results for the final marijuana product.

      • The exact total weight of the marijuana included in the package:
        • For dried, unprocessed marijuana, concentrates, prerolls, and infused prerolls, weight shall be listed in grams.

        • For infused products other than infused prerolls, weight shall be listed by milligrams of delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol.

      • The exact delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (Δ9-THCA), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabinol (CBN), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabidivarin (CBDV), and delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC) per serving/dose, listed in milligrams.

      • Results of terpene analysis, if tested during mandatory testing.

      • Instructions for use.

      • Estimated length of time the serving or dosage will have an effect.

      • The department-issued product packaging approval number.

      • The following warning: “Cognitive and physical impairment may result from the use of marijuana. Keep out of reach of children.”

      • Packaging may include the terms “Sativa,” “Indica,” or “Hybrid,” but only as part of a logo or product name. The terms cannot be used to describe an effect of usage.

      Marijuana seeds and plants shall be clearly and conspicuously labeled with “Marijuana” printed at least as large as any other words used on the packaging and a universal symbol designed as described in this rule. Marijuana seed packaging must also bear a label with the strain information, and plant packaging must include the strain information and propagation date.

      Product Design Approval

      One unique process for Missouri is product label and packaging approval. All marijuana product, packaging, and label designs must be submitted to the department for review. Once a design has been approved, the licensee will receive an approval number for the marijuana product, packaging, and label design as a whole.

      Any violation of this rule shall be punishable by an appropriate and proportional department sanction, up to and including an administrative penalty of five thousand dollars for each product/packaging category, identified by approval number, in which a requirement is violated.

      Review the packaging design guide from the state of Missouri to learn more.

      Choose your network, hardware, and cannabis tech stack

      Your technology stack is crucial to success as a cannabis business owner. Some are must-haves for compliance, like your security system and cannabis point-of-sale, while others are important to differentiate your store and create a great customer experience.

      Here are some of the technology solutions you may want for your dispensary:

      • Network

      • Hardware
        • Printers (both letter-sized and receipts)

        • TVs

        • Cash drawers

        • Computers (for staff work, like inventory)

        • Tablets or terminals

        • Barcode scanners

      • Software
        • POS

        • Ecommerce

        • Compliant payment provider for non-cash transactions

        • Digital menus

        • Kiosks

        • Loyalty programs

        • CRM

        • HR/Payroll tools

        • Accounting software

        • Analytics software

        • Social media management and monitoring

        • Website

        • Mobile app

      You don’t need to invest in every possible cannabis-specific technology solution. But be sure to invest in tools to help you achieve your sales goals, stay compliant, and satisfy modern shoppers.

      You don’t need to invest in every possible cannabis-specific technology solution. But be sure to invest in tools to help you achieve your sales goals, stay compliant, and satisfy modern shoppers.

      See the complete list of top cannabis companies for your dispensary tech stack.

      Remember: While non-cannabis-specific tools exist, they often can’t handle the complexities of the cannabis industry, such as compliance and inventory management. Be sure to thoroughly vet every potential partner to ensure that they can handle your actual needs.

      cannabis technology

      Market your dispensary

      Ok, your store is ready, the team is trained, and you have inventory. Now, you need to get the word out that your dispensary is opening soon.

      Cannabis businesses notoriously have more challenges with marketing than traditional brands because of stigma, regulations, and the federal illegality of cannabis. However, there are still many marketing tactics you can use to promote your new dispensary.

      1. Develop a beautiful, functional dispensary website. Enabling online ordering through your website is a great way to appeal to digital-friendly shoppers.

      2. Fine-tune your social media presence (though be careful with what you post!).

      3. Consider events to attract new customers to your store.

      If you're opening a dispensary in Missouri, you must understand the advertising regulations. Generally, your ads must comply with all applicable municipal and state ordinances and rules that regulate signage and advertising. Here are a few more particulars:

      • There is no prohibition on using a marijuana leaf in the advertising regulations.

      • No advertisement of marijuana may contain:

        • Any representation that is false or misleading in any way.

        • Any statement representing that the use of marijuana has curative or therapeutic effects or tending to create an impression that it has curative or therapeutic effects unless such statement has been evaluated and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

        • Any content that is attractive to children, including but not limited to the shape or any part of the shape of an animal or fruit, including realistic, artistic, caricature, or cartoon renderings, and artistic, caricature, or cartoon renderings of the shape or any part of the shape of a human.

        • Any statement concerning a brand of marijuana that is inconsistent with any statement on the labeling.

        • Outdoor signage and, if visible from a public right of way, interior signage must comply with any local ordinances for signs or advertising.

        • No licensee shall use exterior signage or advertising that does not accurately reflect a licensee’s legal name, business name d/b/a, or trade name on record with the department.

      Pro tip: If you're outsourcing your dispensary website to a web designer, find someone (or an agency) who specializes in cannabis and understands the restrictions around dispensary websites!

      How to choose a cannabis retail POS system

      Your cannabis point-of-sale system is the single most important tool in your stack. It is the central driver for compliance, inventory management, and customer satisfaction.

      Every POS option is a bit different—and not all work in every state—so be sure to do your homework before signing that dotted line.

      Missouri also is rare in that they require cannabis POS and inventory management systems to receive approval from the state. This means that not all point-of-sale providers can be used in Missouri dispensaries. Flowhub is one of the few systems approved in Missouri.

      Here are 10 tips for choosing marijuana retail software.

      cannabis point of sale missouri
      1. State compliance tracking: State reporting (in Missouri’s case, Metrc) is why software is so important. Look for an API integration that manages this all seamlessly to save you time and provide peace of mind.

      2. Hardware compatibility: As mentioned above, your chosen software and hardware must be compatible. Pick a cloud-based software that doesn’t restrict hardware options so that you don’t incur any additional hardware costs or have to change hardware if you change point-of-sale systems later.

      3. Customer support: Your ability to get up and running quickly is important, but getting your questions answered long-term is just as vital. As you look at different software, ask about the level of support you’ll receive.

      4. Ease of use: Software that fuels your medical marijuana or adult-use retail stores must be easy and intuitive, and staff need to learn it quickly. Pay attention to how the system functions and whether you think it’ll make your staff more productive.

      5. Inventory management: You have requirements for managing inventory, as mentioned earlier. Ensure the POS you choose has all the capabilities you need (and then some).

      6. Built-in compliance: Software isn’t just important for compliance related to state reporting (like Metrc); it should also help you stay compliant with state marijuana laws, such as purchase limits. Ensure the software you choose has built-in safeguards that address your market-specific needs.

      7. Discrepancy reporting: Your Metrc inventory, physical inventory, and point-of-sale inventory must always be aligned. If there is a discrepancy, you need to know about it and how to resolve it. Your software should include built-in tools to help you identify and resolve inventory discrepancies.

      8. Activity tracking: In an industry with more loss and theft than others, it’s important to see which employees took what actions and when, such as making a sale, opening a drawer, moving inventory, etc.

      9. Open API and integrations: Is the software compatible with other vendors? Integrations are important to consider, especially if you’re interested in online menus, delivery, loyalty programs, or other technology offered by partners.

      10. Specialization: Consider the best software for each part of your business. If you have marijuana cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities, and cannabis retail operations, it’ll be tempting to pick one software for it all. Better visibility is tempting—you can’t deny that—but all software is best at one thing. If you choose one for all, it means you’ll be putting the other two parts of your business at a disadvantage. Instead, look for vendors who integrate seamlessly.

      Need help opening your dispensary?

      Opening a dispensary in Missouri is quite an accomplishment. The market is still in its infancy, so now is a great time to get involved.

      One of the most critical elements of owning a dispensary is considering the final point of sale. Since cannabis businesses don’t have the same options as traditional retailers, companies like Flowhub are filling the gap.

      Book a demo with our team to learn how to save time and money using Flowhub at the point of sale!

      Amber erickson

      Amber Erickson

      Amber's goal is to create helpful and engaging content to empower cannabis professionals to run a successful and compliant dispensary. Connect with Amber on LinkedIn.

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