The head of Missouri’s medical marijuana program is lashing out over the growing scrutiny he’s facing from state lawmakers.
Lyndall Fraker, who was tapped to lead the rollout of the nascent program that was approved by Missouri voters in 2018, has been under investigation by legislators there over the process of awarding licenses to run a medical cannabis business.
Appeals and Probes Into Licensing Process
There have been more than 800 appeals filed by prospective business owners who were denied licenses, many of which concern Wise Health Solutions, a company that was hired by Missouri to score the license applications.
Wise Health operates as a joint venture with two other entities: Veracious Investigative and Compliance Solutions, a Nevada-based consulting firm that works in the cannabis industry, and Oaksterdam University, an unaccredited higher learning institution in California billed as “America’s first cannabis college.”
According to the Kansas City Star, “Oaksterdam conducted seminars last year in Missouri that were promoted as workshops to help license applicants with, among other things, ‘exclusive access to required industry relationships necessary to build teams and businesses that succeed.” (Oaksterdam has said that no one involved in the seminars was involved in the application process, according to the newspaper.)
At a meeting last week held by the state House government oversight committee, lawmakers continued to hammer Fraker’s performance, with one going as far as saying he wasn’t qualified for the job.
“I find it disconcerting that Director Fraker did not know the specifics of the program he is in charge of,” said Republican state House Rep. Jared Taylor, as quoted by the Kansas City Star. “Whether it was ignorance or confusion or incompetence, Director Fraker did not have the experience needed for this position.”
At a hearing last month, Taylor suggested there could have been conflicts of interest in the application process, given Oaksterdam’s seminars in the state.
“I have concerns that there were conflicts,” Taylor said at the time. “I find it hard to believe that there wasn’t, or something that we would at least look into.”
At the committee meeting last week, Taylor and fellow GOP state House Rep. J. Eggleston chastised Fraker for being credulous in taking Wise Health’s denial at face value.
“They signed a form, and so I guess they did nothing wrong?” Eggleston said, according to the Kansas City Star. “Perhaps we should double check.”
Local television state KCTV reported that Fraker confronted Taylor after the meeting. On Twitter, Fraker hit back at Eggleston.
“I’ve invited Rep. Eggleston out to our office to meet our team and explain the whole program,” Fraker tweeted Thursday. “No response. Just wants to embarrass our hard working team.