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Missouri lawmaker invested in medical marijuana business, but didn’t get a license. Now he’s mad.

Missouri lawmaker invested in medical marijuana business, but didn’t get a license. Now he’s mad.

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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

JEFFERSON CITY — One of the Legislature’s most outspoken critics of the way Missouri awarded medical marijuana licenses acknowledged on Friday that he’d invested about $25,000 in a company that failed to secure a license.

“I have invested in one, that’s true,” Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, told the Post-Dispatch.

Libla said he didn’t believe it was a conflict of interest for him to criticize the Department of Health and Senior Services 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.

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 his personal experience with the scoring process gave him insight into the problems that occurred.

“I’m looking out for everybody that’s invested in this,” he said.

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

Libla said he invested a minority stake in a company led by 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.

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