The ownership of a new marijuana cultivation business has a “local connection,” but that has not been fully disclosed.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, a cultivation license was awarded to Vertical Enterprise LLC at 402 Messanie St.
However, the registered agent of Vertical Enterprise, Christopher Marshall McHugh, no longer works at the address supplied to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office on the paperwork for the company.
“It’s all locals (who own the company),” McHugh said in a phone interview. “All from the Kansas City metro area right now, or who were born and raised here.”
The listed address for McHugh on state records is 2323 Grand Blvd., Ste. 1000, in Kansas City. At that address is a law firm, Seigfreid Bingham.
McHugh confirmed he now works for a new firm, Joseph, Hollander & Craft. He said he’s taken on a role as “media liaison” for Vertical Enterprise.
A spokesperson for DHSS, Lisa Cox, said McHugh was not breaking the agency’s rules by not updating his address.
“There is no requirement in our rules that applicants keep Secretary of State records up to date during the application process,” Cox said in an email.
McHugh returned a request for comment about the business by phone after a News-Press NOW reporter went to his firm’s office in downtown Kansas City.
As for the business’ model, McHugh described a unique approach where the company would cultivate, manufacture and sell marijuana from the same building.
He said the company still is in the “due diligence” process of buying the property at 402 Messanie St.
“It won’t be a lease,” McHugh said. “The contract is for purchase.”
According to Buchanan County records, the building is currently owned by Scot Young Research. A request for comment from that company was not returned.
McHugh said Vertical Enterprise will apply for a St. Joseph business license, “probably as soon as possible.”
Cox said it was not a requirement in the DHSS marijuana application rules for companies to prove they owned or leased the address they were applying for licenses at.
“As you might imagine we’re just gasping for breath right now,” McHugh said. “We’re running as fast as we can trying to figure out where this business is going to be in the next 30 days.”
McHugh added that he expects Vertical Enterprise’s application to the state for a marijuana license likely will be made public “soon.”
“Everyone will be able to see that we made commitments to the community for community involvement, charitable giving, social justice and also economic impact,” he said.
McHugh said the business model could change if the company isn’t awarded a manufacture’s license Jan. 10, or a dispensary license on Jan. 28.
“If these applications are scored the same way as cultivation licenses were scored, and if we can hold that type of scoring, we’ll do very well,” he said.