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Medical marijuana licensing generates hundreds of appeals

More than 800 appeals have been filed by companies that were denied state permits to grow, sell or distribute medical marijuana in Missouri.

As part of the process to launch Missouri’s new medical marijuana program, the state received 2,266 marijuana business applications filed by at least 700 different groups. It awarded 60 licenses to grow marijuana, 86 to make marijuana-infused products and 192 to open dispensaries.

The state’s Administrative Hearing Commission had received 845 appeals of those denials by Friday, spokeswoman Vicki Hale said.

Many of the appeals say the state’s scoring system for awarding permits was flawed. The state hired Nevada-based Wise Health Solutions to score applications. The company could receive up to $582,061 for its work.

Rejected applicants have said Wise assigned different scores for some of the same answers on applications.

“Applications that were largely identical received substantially different scores,” attorneys for NGWMO LLC said in a Jan. 23 filing with the hearing commission. That company is appealing the denial of two cultivation applications.

State lawmakers have opened an investigation into the program and plan to hold hearings on it this spring.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has hired three outside lawyers to help the state’s legal team review all the appeals. The outside lawyers will each be paid up to $49,000 through 2023.


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