Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is facing an onslaught of complaints over how medical marijuana licences were issued.
DHSS finalised its review of medical marijuana cultivation applications in December last year after receiving thousands of applications for cultivation, dispensary, manufacturing and testing laboratory licenses by the August deadline.
Among those who didn’t make the grade, some aren’t prepared to just walk away. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports 845 appeals had been filed by companies denied permits to cultivate, distribute or sell medical marijuana in the state by the end of last week.
Additional lawyers have been hired to help deal with the complaints – and more may be brought on board.
It seems a major gripe among complainants are claims the state’s scoring system for awarding permits was flawed and there’s been an allegation near-identical applications were scored differently. Scoring was outsourced to a company in Nevada, which has also been accused of a conflict of interest.
Separately, the St. Louis Post Dispatch also reports a House panel investigating the state’s medical marijuana program tore into state officials on Wednesday over the handling of licensing.
DHSS has recent posted new FAQs on its medical marijuana program website to address some of the accusations made concerning implementation of the program. Regarding the different scoring for identical applications, DHSS has stated:
“The most common reason for a facility receiving different scores for the same or similar response is because the responses were submitted as part of different facility type applications and thus scored by different individuals.”
Regarding the alleged conflict of interest, DHSS says it investigated specific and general claims and found no evidence the contractor “had any relationships or business dealings that would have presented a conflict of interest under the contract.”
While investigations and complaints handling will go on for some time, its expected this will not delay medical marijuana being available for purchase at licensed facilities
In other related news, DHSS has announced it has begun the process of revising its rules for Missouri’s medical marijuana program. The Department is to post drafts of revised rules on its website for public comment before they are filed.