Judge orders records of applicants to be released by DHSS

Judge orders records of applicants to be released by DHSS

By Brandon Dunn


In the latest step in the ongoing fight between the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Medical Marijuana Division of DHSS, a circuit judge in Cole County ruled Friday that the State must turn over names of those seeking licenses for medical marijuana businesses in Missouri.

The department’s position has been that per language of Amendment 2, now Article XIV, they are restricted from allowing access to applicant data, for licensees or patients.

“The amendment was fairly clear that personal information was not to be divulged and presented,” Lyndall Fraker, Director of the Medical Marijuana Division, said. “We’re just following the Constitution.”

(5) The department shall maintain the confidentiality of reports or other information obtained from an applicant or licensee containing any individualized data, information, or records related to the licensee or its operation, including sales information, financial records, tax returns, credit reports, cultivation information, testing results, and security information and plans, or revealing any patient information, or any other records that are exempt from public inspection pursuant to state or federal law. Such reports or other information may be used only for a purpose authorized by this section. Any information released related to patients may be used only for a purpose authorized by federal law and this section, including verifying that a person who presented a patient identification card to a state or local law enforcement official is lawfully in possession of such card

Judge Daniel R. Green denied Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s Office’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit and granted the newspaper’s motion for summary judgment, forcing the department to release the records, siding with the Post-Dispatch.


Judge Green’s decision does not take place immediately, however, as the effective date was postponed to allow the state time to evaluate whether or not an appeal is needed.

The Post Dispatch has repeatedly drubbed the department publicly since January, accusing the department of violating the Sunshine Law, while stating the department’s refusal but often without including the cited text from the amendment, only saying that the department refused to comply.

Inversely, industry experts have repeatedly praised DHSS for standing behind the wording of the amendment, citing safety and career concerns for potential applicants who may not even be awarded a license.

As of  June 11, the department states that a total of 543 pre-filed application forms and non-refundable fees totaling $3,886,000 have been received.