Excerpted from The Kansas City Star by Crystal Thomas

Hundreds of hopefuls are expected at job fairs for the medical marijuana industry within the next week, but one legal hiccup may stand in their way of employment.

Last May, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informed the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), which licenses and regulates the state’s fledgling medical marijuana industry, that it will not have access to its national fingerprint background check database.

The FBI’s reluctance was revealed during a legislative hearing Wednesday for a bill that is attempting to fix the situation.

The bill, proposed by state Rep. Lane Roberts, was requested by DHSS, which was told by the FBI that it will reconsider access if the state passes a law that codifies the need for the background checks.

Currently, the Missouri Constitution requires DHSS to check that owners, officers, managers, contractors, employees and other support staff of licensed medical marijuana facilities have not committed a disqualifying felony. The requirement was placed in the Constitution when Missouri voters overwhelming voted to approve legalizing medical marijuana in 2018.

Within the last month, DHSS has released which businesses were approved for licenses to cultivate, test, manufacture and dispense medical marijuana. Nearly 350 licenses were awarded in total.

Just this week, DHSS approved about 40 dispensaries in the Kansas City area.

DHSS received permission from the FBI to access its background check database to screen applicants but has not yet received approval to access the database to screen new employees of approved medical marijuana businesses.

Roberts, a Joplin Republican, said the FBI will not easily allow DHSS to view the results of the background checks because it is not a law enforcement agency.
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