Amendment passed in House would open records of marijuana operators in Missouri
On Tuesday, The Missouri House of Representatives passed legislation pertaining to political subdivisions in the state. The bill, SB 724, focuses on when and how counties prepare and publish financial statements and brings second, third, and fourth class counties in line with the same requirements for financial statements as first class counties in Missouri
But inside the bill, an amendment offered by Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, would have a significant impact on the way the Department of Health and Senior Services and the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation handle confidential information for Missouri marijuana businesses.
The Department’s handling of information it deemed confidential, and its stance that applicant information is protected by the Department’s duties under Article XIV of the Missouri Constitution has been at the center of more than a handful of conflicts since the program began awarding licenses in 2019.
The State’s Supreme Court declared in February that the Department must make available information submitted by medical marijuana license applicants during the application process for those businesses currently pursuing appeals.
The February decision limits what information is accessible, restricting the scope to cover only questions where an applicant did not receive full points.
Merideth’s amendment would essentially grant unfettered access to the information for the legislature or its committees, reading, “Records identifying entities licensed under Article XIV, Section 1, of the Missouri Constitution; the ownership structure of such entities; or the individual owners or others with financial or controlling interest in such entities shall not be considered closed records…”
The amendment also offers the following, “The provisions of Section 3 of this section shall be considered purposes under which release of
reports or other information obtained by a license applicant or licensee is authorized under Article XIV, Section 1, Subsection 3(5) of the Missouri Constitution.”
Read the amendment in full below.
The amended version of SB 724 will need to move swiftly back through the Senate to beat the end of the legislative session this week.