New Missouri Auditor Launches Review of Cannabis Bureaucracy

Fitzpatrick said he expects the agency to be "efficient, accountable, and transparent."

The newly elected Missouri state auditor, Scott Fitzpatrick, launched a formal investigation into how the state oversees its medical and recreational marijuana industries, fulfilling a campaign pledge he made last year in his run for the office.

According to The Missouri Independent, the audit kicked off on Aug. 2 when auditors met with officials from the Department of Health and Senior Services, which houses the state Division of Cannabis Regulation, the state agency tasked with overseeing the marijuana trade. Fitzpatrick told The Independent he aims to ensure that the state is regulating cannabis companies “in a manner that is efficient, accountable, and transparent.”

The idea for the audit stems from the nascent nature of the industry and its size, Fitzpatrick told The Independent.

“The rules and regulations promulgated for these programs govern hundreds of marijuana facilities all across Missouri that cultivate and sell cannabis products to hundreds of thousands of Missourians each year,” Fitzpatrick told the newspaper.

One political flashpoint in Missouri has been that ownership of marijuana businesses and licenses are kept confidential by the DHSS, and there have been reports of irregular scoring in the permitting process, accusations of nepotism, and other criticisms that led Fitzpatrick to launch the audit.

Even prior to recreational legalization, there were federal grand jury subpoenas served in 2019 and 2020 to medical marijuana regulators in connection with corruption allegations, and the FBI interviewed lawmakers and stakeholders about the licensing process.

Fitzpatrick was also an outspoken opponent of the ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana just last November, which he said was tantamount to a “government-mandated monopoly” for the existing licensed medical marijuana companies, The Independent reported.

John Schroyer

John Schroyer has been a reporter since 2006, initially with a focus on politics, and covered the 2012 Colorado campaign to legalize marijuana. He has written about the cannabis industry specifically since 2014, after being on hand for the first-ever legal cannabis sales on New Year’s Day that year in Denver. John has covered subsequent marijuana market launches in California and Illinois, has written about every aspect of the marijuana trade, and was part of the team that built the cannabis industry’s first-ever trade show, MJBizCon. He joined Green Market Report in 2022.

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