Memo alleges obstruction in Missouri medical marijuana licensing probe

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The counsel for the Democratic legislative caucus in Missouri alleges that state medical marijuana regulators obstructed an investigation into the MMJ program by withholding critical information during hearings earlier this year.

Casey Millburg, caucus counsel, wrote in a memo that, until recently, regulators withheld documents that revealed knowledge about potential conflicts of interest involving the company that scored the MMJ license applications, Law360 reported.

The memo was issued Monday and provided to Democratic legislators on the Special Committee on Government Insight, which has been investigating the program.

Millburg reportedly characterized the documents as reflecting “what is now a frustrating series of departmental obfuscations and obstructions in response to warranted concerns and questions about the state’s medical marijuana licensure process.”

Missouri’s MMJ licensing process spurred more than 800 appeals, a number of lawsuits and a legislative investigation that has reached the highest levels of state government – Gov. Mike Parson’s office.

The state’s Medical Marijuana Division and Parson’s office didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by Law360.

The memo alleges that the documents show:

  • Regulators evaded questions during the legislative hearings by citing attorney-client privileges that weren’t warranted. For example, they refused to discuss communications between the regulatory agency and members of Parson’s office.
  • One of the contractors hired to review applications had a client competing for Missouri MMJ licenses.
  • Before winning that contract, the head of that company was introduced to a top state health official by a cannabis trade group leader who ultimately won multiple MMJ licenses.
  • Parson’s office was involved in developing the application scoring system.