This week, Missouri House of Representatives Speaker Rob Vescovo (R-Arnold) appointed Rep. Jered Taylor (R-Nixa) as the chair of the House Special Committee on Government Oversight.
For those following marijuana policy in state government, this is significant as Rep. Taylor has been harshly critical of the rollout of Missouri's medical marijuana program, citing concerns about irregularities and apparently arbitrary decisions in the scoring and allocation of marijuana commercial licenses:
At a hearing last week looking into how the application process went so badly awry, state Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, ripped into program director Lyndall Fraker for the multiple ways the procedures have been botched. Whether it was “ignorance or confusion or incompetence, Director Fraker clearly didn’t have the experience needed in the position,” Taylor said. Fraker was hired after being contacted by Robert Knodell, a top aide to Parson, and Dr. Randall Williams, Parson’s appointee as director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jack Suntrup reports.
The missteps that so rankled Taylor and other House members are rooted in the way scores were assigned for license applications to grow, produce consumable products and sell medical marijuana. Nearly identical answers on separate applications yielded widely differing scores, with some resulting in approval and others resulting in rejection. A strong whiff of favoritism surrounds the process.
Over 850 applicants have since appealed the rejection of licenses, costing the state of Missouri millions of dollars in legal fees.
While no new hearings on the marijuana licensing controversy have been noticed for the Special Committee on Goverment Oversight, Republican Rep. Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) has filed House Joint Resolution 30 to fully legalize marijuana and eliminate the controversial medical marijuana licensing provisions in the Missouri Constitution.
We are grateful for Rep. Taylor's diligent work as a watchdog for the people of Missouri and his willingness to fight for equal opportunity and the right to make a living.