The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has launched an investigation into hundreds of fraudulent medical cannabis licenses.
DHSS is responsible for regulating Missouri’s fledgling medical cannabis program.
DHSS on Friday announced the commencement of its investigation after determining that approximately 600 patient licenses were issued to applicants who submitted physician certification forms bearing the signature of an unauthorized physician.
The investigation comes only a few days after the first two medical cannabis facilities in Missouri completed their commencement inspections with the DHSS.
The Department says that, while there is no evidence at this time to indicate that affected patients were aware that the physician listed is not the one that they met with, their certifications are invalid.
“Through our many types of regulatory efforts, we remain watchful for any wrongdoing in order to protect Missourians,” says DHSS director Dr. Randall Williams. “Our main concern is how this fraudulent activity negatively affects patients, and we are working to minimize the impact on them while also holding accountable those who are responsible.”
DHSS says that it will notify patients who are affected by the fraudulent activity and give them 30 days to submit a valid certification.
If DHSS does not receive a valid certification from a patient within the allotted time, the Department says it will revoke their original license.
The Department also says that a pro-rated refund of the original registration fee will be provided for the amount of time remaining on the deactivated license.
DHSS has referred the case to the Missouri Board of Healing Arts and the Attorney General’s Office for further action.
Earlier this month, DHSS published Missouri’s first annual medical cannabis program report, which was based on the program year of December 6, 2018, through December 5, 2019.