The landscape of cannabis legalization in Missouri is undergoing intense scrutiny as the state’s Auditor, Scott Fitzpatrick, spearheads a comprehensive investigation into both the medical and adult-use cannabis programs. The primary goal of this audit is to ensure the utmost accountability and transparency within these burgeoning industries.
Initiated by Auditor Fitzpatrick’s office, this review spans a significant five-year period, starting from 2018 and continuing through June 30, 2023. The timing is pivotal, given that Missouri voters approved constitutional amendments to legalize medical cannabis in November 2018 and adult-use cannabis in 2022.
The implications of these legalization amendments are colossal, as they have paved the way for an entirely new industry in the state, contributing to over $1 billion in sales. With numerous marijuana facilities across Missouri now cultivating and selling cannabis products to a substantial consumer base, the need for meticulous regulation is paramount. Fitzpatrick expressed the necessity of a comprehensive assessment to guarantee operational efficiency, accountability, and transparency in these programs.
Fitzpatrick stressed the monumental impact of these cannabis-related constitutional changes, noting that they comprise a significant portion of the state constitution’s language, marking some of the most profound shifts in recent history.
As the state approaches the licensing phase for its inaugural round of microbusiness licenses, the audit gains additional relevance. It occurs concurrently with the recall of more than 63,000 products that evaded tracking within the state’s seed-to-sale inventory system.
The audit’s scope encompasses multifaceted aspects of the cannabis industry, ranging from cultivation practices and distribution to regulatory frameworks and financial transparency. With the rise of cannabis as a prominent economic and societal force in Missouri, the investigation emerges as a pivotal step to ensure that the industry’s growth aligns with legal, ethical, and operational standards.
As the state’s cannabis landscape continues to evolve, the outcomes of this audit are anticipated to play a pivotal role in shaping the industry’s trajectory. The results will provide insights into areas of strength, potential vulnerabilities, and opportunities for refinement. Ultimately, the audit underscores the commitment to establishing a well-regulated and responsible cannabis industry that benefits both the state’s economy and its citizens.