A proposal in the Missouri legislature would open the door for more businesses to land a medical cannabis license.
An amendment tacked onto legislation being considered would essentially allow “any business owner to secure a license if they meet minimum state requirements,” according to local television station KSHB.
The proposal, which was passed by the Missouri state House, will now head to the state Senate. It comes at a time when lawmakers there have been scrutinizing the licensing process for prospective medical marijuana dispensaries.
Missouri And Medical Marijuana
Sixty-six percent of Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 to legalize medical marijuana, bringing the state in line with more than 30 others that have laws permitting the treatment for qualifying patients, but the program has been beset by questions over the licensing procedure.
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.)
Much of the scrutiny has fallen on Lyndall Fraker, who is leading the rollout of the medical marijuana program and is under investigation over the licensing controversy. The probe led to a war of words in March between Fraker and legislators who have questioned whether he is qualified for the job.