With the passage of adult use marijuana in Missouri, the wheels of change begin to turn.
With constitutionally mandated deadlines, the process comes quickly in many respects. Some changes are subtle, some are glaring, but many will happen at a break-neck pace.
The effective date of Amendment 3 is December 8, meaning all timelines start from that point.
The first change is subtle, a change in branding to encompass the combined administration of medical and adult use marijuana in the state.
Formerly identified as the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation, the new combined authority is branded as the Division of Cannabis Regulation.
In addition to a name change comes two significant changes in leadership. DCR is tasked with creating a new position, Chief Equity Officer, a position that will assist with the development and implementation of programs to inform the public of the opportunities available to those people who meet the criteria established for qualifying applicants to participate in the lottery process for microbusiness licenses, and offering assistance programs, support, and resources to those individuals and entities. The Chief Equity Officer position must be filled within 60 days of December 8.
The second change in leadership comes as Director Lyndall Fraker will not continue in his role. On Tuesday the Department posted an opening for the Division Director position for the Division of Cannabis Regulation. Fraker has led the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation since the inception of the regulating authority in 2019. Fraker confirmed to Greenway that he will not apply for or assume the Division Director role and that the Department is actively seeking a new Director to oversee DCR.
The Division of Cannabis Regulation is expected to grow to roughly 150 employees.
On December 8, marijuana possession of 3 ounces or less, will officially be legal for anyone age 21 and over in Missouri.
Also on December 8, any existing medical marijuana facility licensee may request its license be converted to a comprehensive facility license. The Department must process those requests within sixty days. Unless the Department comes out quickly and issues emergency rules to push the conversion of existing medical licenses, expect it to be February before adults are able to purchase marijuana from a legal dispensary without a Missouri medical card.
Within 180 days, the Department must complete and make available the public license application forms and application instructions for marijuana microbusiness facilities.
Within 275 days, the Department must begin accepting applications for microbusiness licenses.