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On Nov. 6, 2018, Missouri voters passed Article XIV of the Missouri Constitution, establishing a medical marijuana program. Article XIV requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to protect the trade secrets of medical marijuana businesses as well as patients’ information by keeping that information confidential, according to a press release.

The Administrative Hearing Commission, the administrative agency charged with hearing the medical marijuana licensing appeals, recently ruled the confidentiality provision in Article XIV did not prevent litigants from compelling DHSS to disclose trade secrets or other proprietary information submitted by other businesses.

“As most people know, there were many more applicants than there were medical marijuana facility licenses,” said Lyndall Fraker, director of the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation. “Some of those applicants are now pursuing their competitors’ business and proprietary secrets through the appeal process. It’s our responsibility to implement the Constitution, and we want to be sure we’re doing exactly that.”

DHSS initiated an action in Cole County Circuit Court seeking a judicial order regarding whether it should continue protecting the confidentiality of business and trade secrets.

In a release, Fraker said, “The Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation is committed to implementing the Missouri Constitution, whether to meet the strict timelines it set out for issuing medical marijuana licenses or protecting confidentiality. Our constitutional obligation leads us today to request the courts help provide clarity as to whether Missouri businesses and patients can expect their information to remain confidential.”

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