As the cannabis industry continues to gain momentum across the United States, innovative licensing options have emerged to accommodate small-scale entrepreneurs and foster local economic growth. Among these, the concept of "microbusinesses" has taken center stage. Microbusiness licenses are designed to empower small-scale cannabis ventures, allowing them to thrive in an industry often dominated by larger corporations. 

In this blog, we will explore the microbusiness licensing programs in New Jersey, Michigan, and Missouri, highlighting their unique features and comparing their approaches to support this growing sector.

New Jersey: A Beacon of Opportunity for Microbusinesses

New Jersey, being one of the states at the forefront of cannabis legalization, has established a robust microbusiness licensing program. Key features include:

  • Scale and Scope: The New Jersey microbusiness licenses are tailored for small operators, allowing cultivation, processing, and retail within a single organization. This allows entrepreneurs to manage all aspects of the cannabis supply chain under one company.
  • Social Equity Focus: New Jersey's microbusiness program places a significant emphasis on social equity. The state provides resources and support to individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs, making it easier for them to enter the cannabis market.
  • Low Barrier to Entry: The application process for microbusiness licenses in New Jersey is designed to be more accessible, enabling small entrepreneurs to enter the market without the need for exorbitant capital.


Michigan: A Diverse Micro Business Landscape

Michigan, another cannabis pioneer, has taken a more diverse approach to micro business licensing:

  • Different License Types: Michigan offers a single integrated micro license that allows growing, processing, and retailing.
  • Autonomous Operations: Unlike some states where microbusinesses must handle all aspects of the supply chain, Michigan permits these businesses to collaborate with other license holders. This flexibility encourages partnerships and innovation.
  • Size Limitations: While the scale of operations is limited to maintain the "micro" aspect, Michigan has defined the limits more expansively, accommodating slightly larger businesses compared to some other states.

Missouri: Nurturing Local Economies through Microbusinesses

Missouri, in its commitment to promoting local economies, has implemented a unique microbusiness licensing program:

  • Residency Requirements: Missouri requires the majority ownership of a microbusiness to be held by individuals residing within the state. This ensures that the economic benefits stay within the local community. (this has been challenged and is in the process of update, currently residency requirements have been suspended)
  • Vertical Integration Prohibition: To foster fair competition and prevent monopolies, Missouri prohibits vertical integration for microbusinesses, promoting collaboration and diversification within the industry. In addition Micro Businesses in Missouri can only sell to other Micro businesses.
  • Reduced Licensing Fees: The state offers reduced fees for microbusiness licenses, alleviating financial burdens for small entrepreneurs and encouraging them to participate in the legal market.


Microbusinesses in the cannabis industry have emerged as a transformative force, enabling small entrepreneurs to carve out their place in the rapidly expanding market. New Jersey, Michigan, and Missouri are leading the charge with progressive microbusiness licensing programs, each with its unique approach to encourage diversity, social equity, and economic growth. As these states continue to refine and expand their microbusiness frameworks, we can expect to witness a flourishing ecosystem of small-scale cannabis enterprises driving innovation and positive change within the cannabis industry.


ICS Consulting specializes in Compliance based services, such as Third-Party State Regulatory Audits, State and Local License Application Support, Technical Writing, Standard Operating Procedures Development, Compliance Operations Training, Employee Retention Solutions, and Employee Onboarding. For more information on how ICS Consulting Service can help your Cannabis Business, book a free 30-minute consult and we'll help you map out your next steps to be successful in the Regulated Cannabis Industry