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Missouri Court Of Appeals Has Dismissed Lawsuit That Challenged Licensing Caps For Medical Marijuana

May 10, 2022

Regulators from the state of Missouri have been given authority to limit the number of licenses given to grow and make sales for medical marijuana under the ruling of the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western district.

The people who were sued by the state in 2020 were the Callicoats from Sarcoxie, Missouri. It was done after their license to open a place for cultivation was denied. They claimed that the limit regulators approved of the number of medical marijuana licenses, including a geographic bonus favored only by applicants in high-unemployment ZIP codes, was unconstitutional according to the state’s right to farm amendment.

Judge of the Cole County rejected their proves then, and the court of appeals did the samethink. They claimed the constitutional amendment approved in 2018 by voters had already legalized specifically authorized licensing caps for medical marijuana.

The court said, “Appellants have failed to demonstrate that those regulations are arbitrary or capricious, or that they lack a rational relationship to the important governmental interests of ensuring reasonable patient access to medical marijuana, preventing criminal trafficking in marijuana for non-medical uses, and ensuring the health and safety of Missourians”

These licensing caps suffered a bunch of controversies as the state had initially arranged for only 60 cultivation licenses, 192 dispensary licenses, and 86 manufacturing licenses, while 582 applied for a cultivation license, 1,218 for a dispensary license and 430 for an manufacturing license.

Critics have argued and concluded that the process cap granting would bend towards the affluent and expose the corruption of the state regulators. These concerns have been excited by whispers of a particular FBI investigation and other problems rising with the process set to decide who should receive this license.

Now, the medical marijuana industry is bankrolling an initiative petition campaign to put constitutional amendments on the November ballot for the legalization of recreational marijuana. This would aid the state in setting the license in appropriate places and ensure that current license holders will get the first batch of recreational licenses.

This has revived the legislative push to stop license caps, the proposed marijuana bill is sponsored by Republican Rep. Ron Hick, who later came out on Monday that this stalling tactics by his GOP colleagues and support from the House Majority Leader, Dean Plocher might bring an ultimate doom to his legislation.

A top legislative priority bill of the medical marijuana industry, proposed to lift a prohibition on licensed medical marijuana industries from deducting business expenses on their taxes was passed, but vetoed by the Governor, Mike Parson (R) over unrelated provision.

Meanwhile, as of last week, a House committee has added an amendment to the marijuana tax bill set to outlaw license caps and require an issued license from the state to applicants who eventually qualified.