The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Division of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) officially opened the application window for the second round of marijuana microbusiness licenses on April 15.

Prospective applicants are asked to submit their forms electronically through the dedicated online registry portal through April 29, with license awards anticipated by July.

In preparation for this round, DCR has updated its website with crucial resources to aid applicants. Applicants will find guidance addressing business structure and facility location, microbusiness blueprint examples, and tutorials.

Potential licensees will also find a host of updated features including FAQS – detailing changes for the second round of licensing, a host of tools including information on the updates to qualifying Missouri census tracts for poverty and unemployment rates, and others.

The opening day of this application round saw 10 submissions – 15 fewer than in the first round of microbusiness applications, and two fewer than the launch of medical marijuana facility applications in 2019, but still consistent to a degree with the initial response of previous rounds.

Interestingly, despite the lottery system, rather than a scored application award system, applicants have been slow to file on opening day for microbusiness licenses.

“I anticipate that next week will see the highest number of apps per day,” commented Abigail Vivas, Chief Equity Officer with the Office of Business Opportunity.

While application numbers will rise in the coming days, the announced departure of Vivas from her position leaves questions in the air over what the long-term outlook for outreach and administration of the microbusiness licenses, and the Office of Business Opportunity, as a whole looks like.

Vivas has been near-universally celebrated for her efforts and has developed a rapport with applicants, industry leaders, and license winners during her tenure. Her departure leaves a hole that will need to be filled in one of the Missouri cannabis industry’s most visible administrative positions.

To date, DCR has not opened applications for Vivas’ position. Her expected exit date falls in the midst of the second application period. Looking ahead, the leadership transition raises questions about the future administration of these licenses.

The first microbusiness application window ended with 1601 applicants submitting their names for the lottery. Of the initial 48 microbusiness licenses awarded, 9 were revoked. Those 9 licenses have been added to the pool for the second round of license awards.

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