JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri lawmakers continue to seek answers from the department tasked with rolling out the state’s medical marijuana plan approved by voters. Lawmakers say they’ve heard concerns from constituents regarding how the selection process for companies granted licenses was conducted.
Representatives from the Department of Health and Senior Services testified before the House Special Committee on Government Oversight Wednesday. Lawmakers have concerns about how a third party company was selected and whether that company conducted a fair assessment of applicants.
“Why didn’t the department more seriously consider doing this in-house?” State Rep. Dirk Neaton said.
Program director Lyndall Fraker testified that staff members looked at other states and determined that hiring an outside company was better than the option of leaving those decisions to the department. He said an in-house scenario would have triggered concerns that politics were involved in granting licenses.
“It would open up a can of worms that would just open up a path we didn’t want to go down,” Fraker said.
Other lawmakers raised concerns about how applicants’ scores were determined. Some applicants have claimed identical application answers received varying scores.
Voters approved medical marijuana through a ballot initiative in 2018.