Missouri backpedals, grants medical marijuana grow license to losing applicant

A Missouri government panel overturned a decision by state medical marijuana regulators and awarded a cannabis cultivation permit to an applicant that initially was rejected in 2019 and then sued the state.

According to Kansas City, Missouri, NPR affiliate KCUR, the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission awarded NWGMO a grow permit in late December after it found that the state’s scoring process for the MMJ licenses was directed by “intentionally vague guidance.”

The state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which oversees Missouri’s MMJ industry, announced it would not appeal the ruling in favor of a settlement to end NWGMO’s lawsuit.

NWGMO is one of hundreds of companies that complained, appealed or filed suit over the scoring process after the announcement of license winners.

The commission found that the DHHS’s overall process was flawed and that NWGMO’s case presented a solid example because the company submitted two identical applications that were returned with very different numerical scores.

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That situation, the commission found, revealed that the licensing had been more subjective than objective. So the commission sided with NWGMO.

This is the fourth time the commission has overruled the DHHS on licensing matters, KCUR reported, including other instances of inconsistencies in the state’s MMJ license application scoring.