‘Egregious conduct’ in Missouri medical marijuana? What a key industry lawsuit might mean for the future – News-Leader


A view of the Sarcoxie Nursery property, east of Joplin, in a recent publicity photo. Denied state licenses for commercial cultivation and manufacturing of cannabis products, the nursery owners sued the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in Dec. 2019.

The day after Christmas in 2019, state health authorities turned down every Springfield-area company that applied for a medical marijuana growing license, along with many other companies elsewhere in southern Missouri.

Medical marijuana regulators at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services awarded just 60 of the potentially lucrative licenses, drawing from a pool of more than 550 applicants hoping to grow medical cannabis for profit.

The Callicoat family out of Sarcoxie didn’t take the denial lying down. A retired cardiologist, Paul Callicoat, had teamed up with his wife and son to create a plan to turn the old Sarcoxie Nursery, which grew peonies and irises, into a medical marijuana operation: Sarcoxie Nursery Cultivation Center, LLC.

Four days after getting a red light from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Sarcoxie Nursery filed a lawsuit.

The Callicoat family argued that Missouri’s selective medical marijuana licensing process violated Missourians’ right to farm. They also objected to “blind scoring” protocols that included bonuses awarded to applicants located in economically distressed ZIP codes.

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