Missouri’s Social Equity Law Meets First Court Challenge

A Missouri lawsuit is challenging the state’s cap on medical cannabis licenses, arguing that the cap violates the state’s Right to Farm Act passed in 2014.

Full story after the jump.

A Missouri family is suing the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services after they were denied a license to cultivate medical cannabis under Missouri’s medical cannabis law, passed in 2018.

Paul Callicoat and his family said in the lawsuit that the state violated the Constitution when they awarded only sixty out of five hundred licenses on December 26th. The plaintiffs say the state’s cap of sixty licenses violates the state’s “Right to Farm Act,” passed by Missouri voters in 2014.

Additionally, they claim the Department of Health and Senior Services scoring system that awarded bonus points to applicants in economically depressed zip codes went beyond the agency’s authority. In a hearing on Monday, a Cole County Circuit Court judge took the suit under advisement

“We appreciate the opportunity to be heard by the court. We proposed a sensible resolution that provides for an efficient and transparent process for licensure that citizens can have confidence in. It ensures patients also will have access to the high-quality, safe and effective medical marijuana that they need and deserve.” — Paul Callicoat, in a public statement

Missouri is not the first state to try and use newly passed cannabis laws to improve social equity in the cannabis industry. Illinois included social equity provisions in its recently launched adult-use cannabis market, as did California. 

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