Last week the Missouri Supreme Court accepted a petition to hear an argument in November to release the state’s confidential cultivation license application archives in an Administrative Hearing Commission case. The case, where an administrative hearing judge, circuit court, and appellate court have all agreed that the state should release the archives, has major implications for Missouri cannabis regulators. Opening the application records to external review could reveal suspected scoring inconsistencies and possibly unravel the state’s entire licensing program.
The state is arguing that since the constitutional provision for medical marijuana license applications guarantees confidentiality to applicants, it should not have to reveal any information, and that by doing so, future applicants will be reluctant to apply. The plaintiff in the case, Kings Garden Midwest, is arguing that guarantees of confidentiality have never applied to court cases, and it needs access to application archives to prove that the state’s scoring process is flawed.
Although the Kings Garden case is now heading to the state Supreme Court, this is only regarding the plaintiff’s right to discovery in an administrative hearing. Once the Supreme Court makes a decision, Kings Garden will still need to adjudicate their original complaint over their licenses.