MO besieged by medical cannabis permit appeals, lawmakers push back against SAFE Banking, record CO sales & more


Rejected medical marijuana license applicants appeal Missouri regulators’ decisions, Republican legislators ask key U.S. senator to oppose MJ banking measure, Colorado cruises past $1.75 billion in cannabis sales in 2019 – and more of the week’s top marijuana business news.

Missouri MMJ licensing tumult

Medical marijuana license applicants in Missouri that failed to win permits have deluged the state’s regulators with complaints, and the number of licensing legal appeals shot past 500 this week, according to a staff attorney at the state Administrative Hearing Commission.

All of this is despite Missouri’s attempts to sidestep licensing controversy by hiring an independent third-party scorer.

MJBizDaily takeaway: Missouri’s licensing woes are indicative of widespread industry concern around how cannabis permits are scored and awarded across the U.S.

It’s an expensive undertaking for marijuana entrepreneurs and the state alike to go through extensive litigation.

Whether Missouri now will be compelled to issue additional permits to resolve disgruntled applicants’ claims remains unclear.

SAFE Banking opposition

Several Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives who previously voted against the SAFE Banking Act – which would allow financial institutions to offer cannabis financial services without fear of federal reprisal – asked U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo to oppose the measure.

SAFE was approved in September by the full House in a 321-103 vote.

MJBizDaily takeaway: Some marijuana industry watchers remain optimistic that cannabis banking reform could advance in the Senate.

They note that Crapo, an Idaho Republican, recently went to the effort of asking for input on the issue and is said to be working on his own version.

Colorado 2019 marijuana sales

Recreational and medical cannabis retailers in Colorado marked a record year in 2019 with $1.75 billion in sales.

That boosts Colorado’s overall marijuana sales to $7.79 billion since it kicked off its recreational market in 2014.

MJBizDaily takeaway: Industry watchers point out that growth in Colorado’s cannabis industry – which is the most mature adult-use market in the nation – is increasing even after six years of sales.

$19M+ cannabis sale-leaseback deal

NewLake Capital Partners announced it is buying and leasing back 10 marijuana retail stores in six states from Chicago-based Grassroots Cannabis.

The deal is estimated at up to $19.7 million.

MJBizDaily takeaway: A market exists to sell and lease back smaller retail marijuana stores as a way to quickly raise cash.

Most of the sale-leaseback deals have been for bigger, industrial properties, such as cultivation centers and warehouses.

Thai cannabis company hires former UN drug policy chief

Viroj Sumyai joined Thailand’s leading medical cannabis company, Thai Cannabis Corp., as president.

He’s the former head of the United Nations body responsible for international drug treaty compliance.

MJBizDaily takeaway: International experts said Sumyai offers a significant voice to the global credibility of the marijuana industry, especially in Asia.

They also suggested Sumyai might help bring medical cannabis into mainstream circles around the world – particularly within conservative bureaucracies.