Missouri Veterans Commission Loses Out On $1.3M Due to State Legal Proceedings
Regulators have spent $1.3 million since state agencies stopped issuing medical marijuana licenses to defend themselves against complaints from companies whose applications were rejected by the state, but lawmakers are not finished examining the program. The continuous decline in the state's program is the latest in a series of setbacks for the state Board of Medical Marijuana, which has been under discussion by lawmakers since they gave their approval and comes at a time when Jefferson City is experiencing a coronavirus pandemic. Rejected applicants originally filed 853 complaints against the states with the Administrative Hearing Commission, and 785 of those cases were unresolved by Wednesday, according to the Department of Health and Retirement, which oversees the Department of Medicine and Marijuana. The US Department of Health and Human Services handed over the case to the House Oversight Committee in the summer, which has not met once since the documents were obtained.
The panel could reconvene this week when lawmakers return to Jefferson City for their annual veto session. House Oversight Committee Republican Chairman Chris Koster predicted Thursday that the Republican-led panel would hold a hearing “in the very near future”. Lawmakers who criticize Parsons' administration have said the state's $1.3 million in veterans' money for the marijuana program is limited by a flawed point system that has led applicants to distrust the process. The state has said that licenses should be limited to reduce oversupply and prevent diversion into marijuana on the black market, while introducing a system to track seeds - on - selling plants to prevent diversions. Some of the money spent so far goes to legal fees paid to private law firms - about $2.1 million - comes from fees paid to the department by the medical marijuana business’. These fees were to be paid to a new Veterans Health Care Fund to cover the cost of running the program. The program has raised about $19 million so far, meaning the state has spent about 7% of the funds on legal costs. The Department of Health has spent an additional $3.1 million since December to manage the program. The Missouri Veterans Commission, which votes on how to use the money for medical marijuana, had not received any money by Friday morning, said Jamie Melchert, a spokesman for the commission.