On Friday evening, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services was ordered by a court in Missouri to delay the approval or rejection of one applicant who had applied for a license to run a medical marijuana dispensary.
According to the statement previously issued by the Health Department, the permits would enable businesses located in secure areas to sell medical cannabis to patients. The Department expected to issue a minimum of 192 licenses within the state by January 24.
Judge Daniel Green, with the Cole County Circuit Court, ordered the delay of approval or rejection of one applicant for a license in Independence until a week (Jan.27) after the initial decision date.
It is not yet clear how the delay will affect the whole licensing process. When asked about the court order on Saturday morning, a DHSS spokeswoman said via a text message that the case is not about DHSS, but about the Independence ordinance. She further said that she does believe that the process would be delayed but asked them to refer their questions to the Office of the Attorney General in Missouri.
No response was issued by the spokesman for the attorney general when contacted for a comment.
At the beginning of last week, the USA TODAY Network reported that in 2019, Independence approved cannabis zoning rules were stricter than the barriers in churches, daycares, and schools that are written in the state-level medical cannabis constitutional amendment.
A former owner of a marijuana clinic that specialized in patients seeking state-approved medical marijuana cards Emily Branch said that supporters of marijuana regard Independence zoning rules as a violation of the Missouri constitution.
According to public records, the plaintiff, in this suit is the HCKC LLC, which is operating as Healing Center of Kansas City.
One of the officials of the Healing Center, Jay Richards, said that the company would not issue any statement at the time, but maybe after the state awards them the dispensary permit.
According to the medical marijuana dispensary applicant record provided by the Missouri Department of Health, there were other companies tied to Healing Center that applied for at least ten licenses.
Healing Center retail outlets would be spread across the state to St. Louis, Kansas City areas, Rolla, and Columbia.
Lying at the center of the lawsuit is the dispensary to be opened in the Kansas City Area, which is the hometown of President Harry Truman.
The suit’s defendants include the City of Independence, Department of Health and Senior Services, and its director Randal Williams, and they are using the same lawyer for their defense.
Another lawsuit was filed against the DHSS by the Sarcoxie Nurseries Tree Farm, who were denied a commercial cultivation license. At the beginning of January, the owner of Medigro LLC, Brian Atchley, said that he is tied to the two lawsuits. And like many other permit applicants, Atchley is questioning the DHSS licensing protocols.
Industry experts say such lawsuits can potentially derail the roll-out of the marijuana program, and they are certain that industry actors like No Borders Inc. (OTC: NBDR) wouldn’t want such a barrier to persist for long.
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