Missouri’s process for awarding medical marijuana licenses has been disappointingly deficient, to the detriment of patients who believe cannabis can relieve their pain.
Voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 that cleared the way for medical marijuana in the state. In 2019, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services launched a complicated process to sort through almost 2,300 applications to grow, manufacture and sell marijuana products to qualified patients.
Applicants would be “scored” according to several criteria, most of them quite subjective: “character, veracity, background (and) qualifications” of would-be owners; the business plan; security; experience and economic impact in the community.
Last August, the state hired an outside firm, Wise Health Solutions, to review the applications. The highest scoring applicants would be licensed.
Complaints emerged almost immediately after licensees were announced. Would-be growers and sellers said their applications were improperly reviewed. Some said they had spent thousands of dollars preparing to offer medical marijuana for sale, only to be denied under a less-than-transparent process.
To date, more than 800 appeals have been filed by applicants seeking to overturn their license denials. Missouri is currently working through that appeals process, which could take months. [Read more at The Kansas City Star]