Publicly Traded Companies in MO?
Article XIV of the Missouri Constitution, and the rules promulgated thereunder, do not explicitly prohibit a publicly traded company from having an ownership interest in a licensed Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility, Medical Marijuana Infused-Products Manufacturing Facility, or Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facility. However, when examining the rules closely, it becomes clear that a publicly traded company almost certainly cannot be an owner of a licensed facility and the facility comply with all the requirements set forth in the Missouri Constitution. For example, Section 7, paragraph 2 provides that no facility shall be owned, in whole or in part, or have as an officer, director, board member, manager, or employee, any individual with a disqualifying felony offense as defined by the amendment. As part of the license application, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services requires every applicant to submit an attestation that no owner, in whole or in part, has a disqualifying felony offense. This raises the question of whether a license applicant with a publicly traded company as an owner could comply with the Missouri Constitution and the regulations set forth by the Department of Health because it would be virtually impossible to attest that no shareholder of the publicly traded company had a disqualifying felony offense
Responding to this complicated question, the Missouri Department of Health released a set of “Frequently Asked Questions” on its website, including a question of whether Missouri prohibits publicly traded companies from owning medical marijuana facilities. In its answer, the Department admits that this is not directly addressed in the Constitution or the regulations, however it does comment that the rules require that no owners, direct or indirect (shareholders of a public company) may have disqualifying felonies. The apparent impossibility, as a practical matter, of such a company checking all of its ever-changing shareholders seems to prohibit a publicly traded company from owning, in whole or in part, a Missouri medical marijuana facility.
A link of the frequently asked question, along with the Department’s answers, can be found here.
Please contact David Olive at 417-447-4400 if you have any further questions.