A federal judge ordered a permanent injunction against Missouri’s medical cannabis law requiring cannabis businesses in the state to be at least 51% owned by Missourians. Judge Nanette Laughrey of the Missouri Western District made the ruling late last week in an eight-minute bench trial that removes Missouri’s cannabis license residency requirements.
According to Ganjapreneur, the case was brought forward by Toigo, a cannabis investment firm, against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
The ruling will go into effect once the judge issues a written order and will allow out-of-state investors to enter Missouri’s cannabis market. The Missouri attorney general will have 30 days to appeal the written order once it is issued.
“It will make operations by smaller Missouri-owned licensees more challenging because of the competition and economy of scale enjoyed by larger companies, but it also opens up the market for cannabis products otherwise unavailable to Missouri patients, and should lower prices across the board,” Missouri-based cannabis attorney and consultant Cindy Northcutt said in a message to the Springfield News-Leader.
The state’s medical marijuana license residency requirements were part of Amendment XIV of the Missouri state constitution backed by state voters in 2018. Other states close to legalizing cannabis also need to sort out how they want to set cannabis business licensing requirements in their state.
One of the owners of a medical marijuana dispensary in the Springfield area feels like the permanent injunction does not favor Missourian-owned cannabis businesses. “All the big guys have already been kind of standing at the back of the door. Now there’s nothing to keep them from just rolling in and buying everybody up,” OzaRX Botanicals part-owner Kim Andrews said to the News-Leader.
Although Missouri state voters approved the consumption and sale of medical marijuana in 2018, marijuana activists seek to legalize recreational use for adults 21 years or older.
If added to the state’s 2022 ballot and approved by Missouri voters, people will be able to purchase their favorite containers of cannabis from different dispensaries.