The initial launch of the microbusiness license application process drew to a close on Thursday.

The lottery saw fewer applicants than had originally been anticipated.

In 2019, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) received more than 2100 applications for medical marijuana licenses.

The first microbusiness application window ended with  1601 applicants submitting their names for the lottery.

While restrictions that limited individuals and entities to a single application were sure to impact the total number of applications, the lower barrier to applying and a refundable application fee led many industry prognosticators to anticipate more applications than were submitted for medical licenses just four years earlier.

The Division of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) will issue a total of 48 microbusiness licenses in the first round of application and lottery.

How the 1601 applications DCR received are broken down by type and district is unclear at this time, with the Division expected to release full statistical data about the application numbers in the near future.

While there were controversies and criticisms of some of the criteria for the application process, DCR issued waivers and additional criteria in an attempt to optimize the number of applicants.

But despite those changes, and a fully refundable application fee, the number of applicants fell short of many estimates.

The licenses will be distributed evenly, with six microbusiness license applicants being selected within each of the eight Missouri congressional districts. Among the six applicants in each district, two will be awarded microbusiness dispensary licenses, while four will receive microbusiness wholesale facility licenses.

To ensure a fair and transparent selection process, the microbusiness license winners will be determined through a random lottery drawing conducted by the Missouri Lottery. This lottery will be held after the application submission window closes, and all timely and eligible applicants will be included in the drawing. It is crucial for applicants to adhere to the rules and requirements outlined by the DHSS to avoid denial of their applications and exclusion from the lottery.

Following the lottery drawing, DCR will review the applications, and approved winners will be issued their microbusiness licenses no later than October 4, 2023.

The Department will announce the results of the lottery drawing on its website, keeping all applicants informed and updated throughout the process.

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