As a legislative probe into the rollout of Missouri’s medical marijuana program has expanded into Gov. Mike Parson’s office, a Neosho-area lawmaker is working to remove a cap on the number of medical marijuana licenses set by the state.
Though he said he voted against Amendment 2 in 2018, Rep. Ben Baker, R-Neosho, said that when voters approved the medical marijuana amendment, they didn’t approve a maximum number. His amendment removes a limit placed by the Department of Health and Senior Services.
“When Amendment 2 was passed, there was language about a minimum of licenses to be issued,” Baker said. “The department arbitrarily set a cap at that minimum. What (Baker’s amendment) does is rescind a rule the department made and doesn’t change the statute voters passed.”
Removing that limit effectively negates the need for a scoring process the state used to grant licenses, Baker said. That scoring process led a House panel to launch an investigation into allegations of irregularities and alleged conflicts of interest.
Baker said the hearings revealed to him how the state department’s intervention led to an unfair scoring process that led bigger, out-of-state companies to get preference over local applicants. [Read more at The Joplin Globe]