The Politics of Cannabis in Missouri: Legal Battles, Questionable Ethics, and Poor Optics for Parson
Governor Parson held a fundraiser at the home of a Green Farms executive, other MMJ license holders in attendance.
When it comes to medical marijuana in Missouri, Governor Mike Parson seems to be riding that thin line between problematic but acceptable, and downright unethical. The latest in a long line of events highlighting the disconnect between Missouri voters and Parson’s own personal goals, is a fundraiser dinner held at the home of Hamid Hamrah, who was identified as having a medical marijuana license associated with Green Farms.
Missouri Marijuana card is here to help you stay up-to-date on all the latest medical marijuana and cannabis news in Missouri. Keep an eye on our blog for cannabis-related tips, tricks, and updates.
Use our resource pages to learn about the MMJ program in Missouri, and see if you qualify for medical marijuana before you schedule an evaluation appointment with one of our compassionate doctors.
Cannabis Heads in Missouri Paying for Face-Time With Parson
The heads of several cannabis companies that were awarded licenses received invitations to the dinner, which raised money for the political action committee, Uniting Missouri. The PAC was formed in 2018 to help Parson get elected for a full four-year term after replacing resigned Governor Eric Greitens.
The move to hold a fundraiser with major cannabis companies seems to be out of step with the pains of Missouri voters, who have been deeply frustrated by the apparently corrupt politics putting a damper on the rollout of the medical marijuana program they voted into action.
Questionable Licensing Procedures for MO Marijuana Businesses
The licensing procedures managed by the Department of Health and Human Services have been under criticism since the first year of the program, when the department contracted with a private company to review licensure applications.
The consequence of that decision was more than 800 lawsuits filed by companies for the imbalanced licensure process. Several applications were scored differently, even though their answers were exactly the same as other applicants. They were denied, while others were granted their license.
The Missouri House voted in March 2021 to limit the amount of money the DHSS can spend on these lawsuits. Now a much smaller chunk of the taxes collected on the cost of getting a marijuana card and dispensary purchases will be diverted away from the Veterans’ program funding originally approved by voters.
The DHSS has been working hard to ensure that they meet only the absolute minimum requirements for licensure stated in the 2018 constitutional amendment.
In addition to imbalanced issuance, the department has put an unreasonable time limit on how long a dispensary can take to begin operating. In the year of a pandemic bringing commerce in Missouri to a halt, and among complications and legal battles, and despite a lack of supply as a result of a stall in growers getting up and running, Missouri dispensaries had only a year to open after being granted a license.
FBI Investigations Kicking Off Corruption
And finally, among the shady politics (or at least the shady optics), there were 2019 FBI investigations into marijuana operations in Independence. This in and of itself is not the rotten-smelling issue. The real problem, according to an article in the Missouri Independent, is that it was later revealed that Steve Tilley was a central figure in the questioning surrounding some questionable utility contracts for facilities in Independence.
This brings us full circle to that recent fundraiser for Parson at the home of an exec associated with Green Farms. Tilley was registered as a lobbyist for Green Farms at one point, and he is a longtime friend and advisor to Parson. Missouri Independent reporter Jason Hancock noted that, “At one point in 2020, a quarter of every dollar raised to elect Parson governor was connected to Tilley and his lobbying clients.”
Director of DHSS Resigns With No Explanation
Just three days before the news broke that Parson was holding this controversial fundraiser, Randall Williams, Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services resigned with no explanation. In a statement made on April 22, Parson suggested that the resignation was based on an agreement that he and Williams should part ways, noting that he expects a lot out of his cabinet, creating a stressful environment.
Parson wants to fill the position quickly, and it will be interesting to see who steps in.
You Don’t Need to Deal With Missouri Political Drama to Get Medical Marijuana
We get that the system as it stands looks pretty corrupt, and that there is going to be quite a mess to clean up moving forward. However, the only path to true program rehabilitation is through substantial proof of demand for an ethical program that works.
Voters have more work to do, in order for that to happen.
You don’t have to buy into the corruption to get the relief you deserve right now. Despite the challenges and battles, there are several smaller dispensaries that support your hometown, like The Valley in Farmington, or Root 66 in Dogtown and South Grand.
Additionally, tacking a cultivation license onto your Missouri marijuana card allows you to legally grow your own marijuana plants in your home or backyard. You don’t have to invest any money into the program except for the fees associated with getting the card and the permit, and a percentage of what you do invest will go to Veterans in need.
When you’re ready to skip the drama and just get your medical marijuana, give us a call at (877) 303-3117 to get your questions answered, or simply schedule an appointment online with one of our telehealth doctors today!
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!
Check out Missouri Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Missouri.