More than 800 appeals have been filed by companies that were denied state licenses to operate a medical cannabis business in Missouri, with many of the appeals arguing that the scoring system used in the licensing process was flawed, the Associated Press reports. The state received 2,266 industry applications by at least 700 groups for just 60 cultivation licenses, 86 manufacturers, and 192 dispensaries.
Nevada-based Wise Health Solutions was hired to score the applications and some rejected applicants argue that the firm assigned different scores for the same answers on applications, the report says.
In an interview with KMOX, Joe Ingrande, who had hoped to open a dispensary in Bowling Green, called the process unfair. He and another investor spent about $60,000 in application and consultants’ fees and securing a potential building but said there was “too much ambiguity” with the testing process. Ingrande argued that in-state applicants were supposed to get priority in the process but many of the winners appeared to be out-of-state corporations.
A review by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch found that about two dozen groups that each won five or more licenses had ties to out-of-state cannabusinesses or the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, or MoCannTrade.
The process is also subject to at least one lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the licenses, arguing that the cultivation license cap violates a state constitutional “right to farm,” according to an MJBizDaily report.
Lisa Cox, communications director for Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services which has hired three outside attorneys to assist the state’s legal team review of all the appeals, told MJBizDaily that the agency does not anticipate “any delays to the program rollout due to litigation.”
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