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Missouri Cannabis Entrepreneurs Question Medical Marijuana Licensing Process

February 20, 2020

Missouri has announced the winners of medical cannabis business licenses. However, residents have expressed concerns over its selection process. Rejected applicants have requested additional information regarding their status. This comes after multiple weeks of lawmakers listening to complaints. Generally, complaints arose concerning the committee choices and possible conflicts of interests. 

Potential license holder Tim Mitchell had noticed something unusual with his applications. He had submitted an application to grow cannabis and other to process cannabis-infused products. Upon reviewing both denials he noticed that the identical answers given on both applications. The scoring discrepancies have yet to be explained. The lack of clarification has been raising some major red flags with applicants. 

Medical Cannabis Rejection Woes

Like Tim, many rejected applicants paid up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in application fees. Some even invested in contracts with architects or consultants in an effort to break into the cannabis industry. Meanwhile, the state of Missouri has raked in more than $13 million in nonrefundable fees from at least 2,266 cannabis business applicants filed. 

During a hearing of the House Special Committee on Government oversight concerns grew around the potential failure to meet patient demands. Out of the 2,266 applications only 338 licenses have been issued. 

Future of Missouri Medical Cannabis

In a study conducted last year by the University of Missouri, the state would need 29 growers to meet the demand of the 26,000 medical patients. Missouri named a third-party scorer– Wise Health– to score the applications. 

An estimated $582,061 could be awarded to Wise Health for their services. Applicants will continue to file complaints about the third-party tested and their assigning different scores for some of the same answers on applications. The committee has yet to address the scoring discrepancies.