Missouri House Wants to Drop Limits on State Medical Marijuana Operations, Including Dispensaries
Unfair Medical Marijuana Regulation Practices by the Department of Health and Senior Services May Soon End
Missouri medical marijuana dispensaries and processors may finally get a break as they scramble to open their doors and jumpstart an industry in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. The Missouri House voted on March 30, 2021, to limit the amount of money the Department of Health and Senior Services can spend on the lawsuits brought against it for unfair and uneven program regulation.
Residents all over the state have been anxiously waiting for dispensaries to open in their neighborhoods, providing access to therapeutic cannabis for patients who have been diagnosed with a wide range of conditions. However, the limits presented by the DHSS are making it nearly impossible for some smaller operations to get their final approval to open.
More Than 850 Appeals Have Been Filed Against the DHSS, With More Than 600 Still Pending
Some cultivators were allowed to open, while others that met the same criteria were denied; a rule placing a deadline for dispensary opening became impossible to meet due to lack of supply and delays as a result of COVID; and the state imposed a limit on the number of dispensaries that could open in Missouri that was equivalent to the minimum number of dispensaries set in the 2018 law.
The state has been aggressive in defending its licensing and permit decisions, shelling out more than $12 million in legal fees to a private law contractor to fight the appeals in court. This is where the Missouri House wants to put a plug in the drain.
$12 Million to Fight Medical Marijuana Operations Rather Than Helping Veterans
The revenue generated from the Missouri medical marijuana program is supposed to go to funding veterans’ programs—housing, mental health, healthcare, rehabilitation, and employment services.
The DHSS is defending its legal expenditures, saying that the cost of regulating an unlimited number of marijuana operations would far exceed the cost of fighting appeals to all the denials. However, it seems like it would be more profitable for veterans all over the state if the DHSS were more focused on regulating a medical marijuana program that is fully operational and making its full potential in revenue.
Limit on DHSS Spending for Medical Marijuana Legal Battles Passes House
Peter Merideth, a Democrat from St. Louis, proposed that the DHSS expenditures on legal fees fighting appeals over the next fiscal year should be limited to 5% of the medical marijuana program’s total expenditures. The proposal passed the House, 118-29.
This should help eliminate some of the backlog caused by stringent and unfair practices by the department, giving dispensaries, cultivators, and processors more breathing room and the ability to open their doors after facing an avalanche of challenges.
The final budget proposal is now awaiting approval from the Senate.
Get a Missouri Marijuana Card to Be Ready for Dispensary Openings Near You (Or Grow Your Own Medical Marijuana)
When you have a Missouri marijuana card, you can shop and any dispensary in the state. With new dispensaries opening at a steady pace and proposed limitations on DHSS regulation, the summer is looking pretty green from here on out.
Make sure you are ready to shop when a dispensary opens near you, with a marijuana card in hand. And if you are more of a DIY cannabis consumer, you can get an additional cultivation permit and grow up to six of your own medical marijuana plants in your home.
We are always available to answer questions, or you can schedule an appointment for a telehealth marijuana evaluation from the comfort of your living room.
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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