Opening A Missouri Dispensary? Here’s What You Need To Know About Insurance


Missouri residents have had legal access to medical cannabis since 2018, and in December 2022, the state became the 21st state to legalize recreational cannabis as well. The expansion of legalized cannabis presents Missouri dispensary owners with the potential for big gains and rapid growth.

For new cannabis entrepreneurs or medical dispensaries expanding to include recreational sales, it takes work to build a safe and compliant Missouri dispensary. An important part of that work includes making sure that your cannabis investments are protected with the right combination of insurance policies.


Missouri Cannabis Business Regulations

Insurance is one of the most important steps for any business owner to take, but especially important for cannabis-related businesses (CRBs). For Missouri cannabis business owners, it’s typical to spend anywhere from 6 months  to 1 year preparing to launch your dispensary. This includes applying for Missouri cannabis licenses and permits, securing a location and vendors, and choosing dispensary management technology software. MO dispensaries must also sync with Metrc, Missouri’s statewide track and trace system.


Cannabis is a newly-legal industry that’s still at odds with federal regulation, so compliance standards are not universal, and in some states, the regulations and compliance standards change frequently. Because the cannabis industry doesn’t yet have ‘industry standards,’ many CRB owners run the risk of getting the wrong kind of insurance policies, or cut corners to save costs with substandard policies. Your dispensary’s insurance should be comprehensive and protect all the money, time, and labor that’s invested in your CRB before you’ve even had your grand opening.


MO Dispensary Commencement Inspections

At present, Missouri cannabis businesses are subject to Commencement Inspection by the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS). Once a cannabis-related business is issued a license to operate, they have one year to pass a Commencement Inspection. Failure to pass this inspection can result in the CRBs cannabis business license being revoked. As part of the Missouri DHSS Commencement Inspection, the CRB is required to provide proof of insurance from the insurer before the CRB can receive an Approval to Operate letter from the Missouri DHSS. However, if the insurance company does not provide the proof of insurance until the Department’s Approval to Operate letter is received, the CRB license holder must provide the proof within three business days from the Approval to Operate letter. Per DHSS regulation, insurance quotes are not sufficient as proof of insurance, so making sure your CRB has policies in place is an important step toward obtaining your MO approval to operate as a legal cannabis-related business.

For more information on Missouri’s cannabis regulation, visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.


What Kind Of Insurance Does My MO Dispensary Need? 

The kind of policies your Missouri cannabis business needs will depend on a number of key factors. In general, most dispensaries and plant-touching CRBs will need policies that provide a financial safety net against theft, fires, and injuries. But the cannabis trade has a wide range of other industry-specific concerns, which open CRBs up to more risk of liability.


General liability insurance alone may not provide the coverage you need, which is why it’s important to have an experienced professional who’s familiar with the cannabis industry to help guide you to the insurance that you need to protect your investment. Most dispensaries and plant-touching CRBs will require some combination of business income insurance, general liability, commercial property insurance, workers compensation, and product liability. Cyber liability and technology errors and omissions coverage are also becoming more common for cannabis businesses.


The Importance of Insuring Your Missouri CRB

The legal cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing US markets – which is why the industry faces more challenges that accompany an industry with quick growth and higher-than-average risk. One of those risks is liability, and what your dispensary can be held responsible for. Lawsuits and claims against CRBs can range from inaccurate warning labels, defective devices and tainted products to improper lab safety testing and unsafe handling practices during the manufacturing process.


Product Liability Insurance For Your MO Dispensary 

If customers purchase a defective product or device and illness or injury are the result, the dispensary can be held liable. Even if your dispensary has no prior knowledge of any defect, customers could still bring a claim against your business. These claims can address anything from how the cultivator or manufacturer produced the product to how your shop advertised it. This is why product liability insurance is becoming increasingly important for many new dispensary owners, or dispensaries expanding into the recreational cannabis trade.

If your Missouri dispensary plans to retail edible cannabis products, having extra product liability may be in your best interests. The cannabis market is too new for entrepreneurs to take risks with low coverage, and edibles are known to have a wide range of effects. Edibles are additionally more appealing to underage consumers, and your business can only do so much to educate and advise shoppers to minimize risk. Maintaining product liability insurance can prevent long, expensive legal battles over who is responsible in case a sale goes wrong after the fact.


Millers Insurance Group Has The Experience You Need

Position your Missouri dispensary for long-term success with comprehensive insurance coverage with an agency who knows the specific needs of your industry. You need peace of mind – and Millers Insurance Group has the know-how to deliver it. Your Millers agent will assess the needs of your CRB and guide you to the right insurance solutions for your business.

Whether it’s a product liability claim, theft, fire, or an accident in your storefront, with Millers Insurance Group, you won’t have to worry whether you’re covered. That peace of mind is the Millers guarantee, and we’re proud to be part of your growing industry.


Contact an agent today for a free consultation – and see what your new Missouri cannabis business can achieve with Millers Insurance Group by your side.

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