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“Bad Actors” Attempting to Exploit Missouri Cannabis Licensing System, Says Lawmaker

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Missouri State Senator Karla May has called for an investigation after it was revealed that certain parties were carrying out fraudulent activities in an attempt to “exploit the system for personal gain”.

The Missouri Independent published an investigation revealing that Michigan cannabis real estate group Canna Zoned MLS advertised a call for “partners” who qualify as social equity applicants to take part in the Illinois cannabis business licence lottery.

It also made the call for other states – including Missouri – despite the lotteries being designed to provide opportunity to state residents who had historically been disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs.

According to the Missouri Independent, the Craigslist advert stated: “If you are eligible and provide the required documentation, we will give you $2,000, just for helping us submit the lottery application! If we win the lottery and secure a license, we will give you an additional $20,000.”

In the letter to Director of the ​​Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation, Amy Moore, May stated: “…. I’m disturbed by the egregious exploitation of these measures by profit-driven individuals.

“As a state at the forefront of progressive cannabis reform and having made strides in empowering communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs I’m asking fo ran immediate investigation regarding the recent revelations published by the Missouri Independent, Rebecea Rivas.

“This article is highlighting some unscrupulous practices by certain applicants who, instead of contributing to the intended opportunities, have devised schemes to exploit and manipulate the system for personal gain.”

The letter continued: “I condemn these actions as an affront to the principles that guided the citizen’s initiative. The people of Missouri spoke loud and clear in their support for a fair and inclusive cannabis industry that addresses historical disparities.

“The schemes orchestrated by these applicants potentially involve fraudulent activities, gaming the system to secure licences through the exploitation of legacy advantages that the ballot language aimed to mitigate.”

May stated that she will be seeking legislative action to address and rectify the abuses.

A designated contact on the licenses associated with Canna Zoned MLS, Jeffrey Yatooma, told the Missouri Independent that the company “rejects any allegations that we have defrauded the state” and that final agreements with partners in Missouri “will absolutely comply with all state laws and regulations.”

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