Missouri legislators open special session

Missouri State Sen. Doug Libla, (left), takes his seat on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, during a special session in which he filed stem education legislation as lawmakers prepare for votes during the session later this week. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

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JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Doug Libla said Friday he invested approximately $25,000 in a medical marijuana company that didn’t win one of a limited number of licenses to grow marijuana in Missouri.

“I have invested in one, that’s true,” he told the Post-Dispatch.

Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, has been perhaps the most outspoken lawmaker in criticizing the state Department of Health and Senior Services’ handling of medical marijuana business applications.

Rejected applicants have heaped criticism on the state, saying a third-party scorer hired to grade applications dropped the ball, unfairly dooming businesses that had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Libla said he didn’t believe it was a conflict of interest for him to criticize the department on the Senate floor at the same time he had business before the state. He said he didn’t disclose his investment on the Senate floor.

“I’m looking out for everybody that’s invested in this,” Libla said, adding that his personal experience with the scoring process gives him insight into the problems that occurred.

“A lot of people have sent me their information,” he said, adding their problems “kind of resembles everything that I’ve seen also on our own application.”

Libla said he owned a minority stake in the company and said his business associate was Colby Robertson.

According to state records, Robertson filed three applications to open cultivation facilities, two in Butler County and one in Ripley County. The name of the company is Ozark Med Manufacturing.

All three applications were rejected, according to state records. The same company also applied for two marijuana infused products manufacturing licenses, but the state rejected those applications as well.

Libla has described the medical marijuana scoring process as a “boondoggle“ with “serious flaws.“ He has said he would introduce legislation to fix the problems, but he had proposed no bills as of Friday.

The state has declined to release copies of each business applicant’s “ownership structure form,“ which would reveal any ownership stakes in medical marijuana companies by elected officials or others.

Elected officials do have to make personal financial disclosures with the Missouri Ethics Commission annually.

Jack Suntrup • 573-556-6184

@JackSuntrup on Twitter


This article originally ran on stltoday.com.


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