JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — “We’re talking about a huge industry here, and so far it’s been nothing but a boondoggle,” said Missouri State Senator Doug Libla, a Poplar Bluff Republican.
Libla says he’s been hearing from hundreds of people who applied for medical marijuana cultivation and manufacturing licenses who aren’t happy with the scoring process.
He said they’re all mostly complaining about the same things.
“They feel like – and there’s a big concerted effort going on right now to prove that – the scorers were not being consistent, and not looking at people’s backgrounds,” Libla said.
Tracey Smith’s family runs medical marijuana cultivation centers in Oklahoma and Colorado. They live at the Lake of the Ozarks, and tried to get a license for a facility in Laurie. KY3/KSPR’s Andrew Havranek spoke to him last month after they were denied.
“That’s what’s so upsetting, we aren’t in the top five, top ten,” Smith said. “I mean, we’re so far down on the list, we’re like way down below midway.”
The State of Missouri hired a company called Wise Health Solutions, a joint partnership between Oaksterdam University in Nevada, and Veracious Investigative & Compliance Solutions in California, to score the applications.
Libla thinks there was a conflict of interest because Oaksterdam University held a “boot camp” for potential applicants to boost their chances on getting a license.
“We’ll look into that in a little more detail as we go along the next week or so,” Libla said.
Libla plans to discuss the issue on the Senate floor sometime over the next two days. He wouldn’t say what exactly he was going to call for, but said the Attorney General’s Office should get involved.
“I think the Attorney General for the State of Missouri needs to be looking out for the interest of the people who invested in these application fees and whether or not they’ve been handled properly or not,” Libla said.
Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services says Lyndall Fraker, the Director of the Medical Marijuana Division, has been called by the Missouri House to testify in front of the Government Oversight Committee at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.