Lawsuits, troubled business pasts plague some winners of Missouri marijuana business licenses –

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Josh Mitchem (left), Jack Mitchell (right). Photos courtesy of the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association

ST. LOUIS — Among the winners of licenses to sell medical marijuana products in Missouri are multi-state retailers and local business owners who have been sued in other states over alleged fraudulent practices. 

They include two Kansas City-area men who helped lead the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association and whose former businesses settled lawsuits alleging misconduct for thousands of dollars. 

In recent months, the state Department of Health and Senior Services has faced criticism from rejected applicants — and now faces scrutiny from a Missouri House investigative committee — for the way it handled applications from roughly 700 business groups competing for 338 licenses to grow, process or sell marijuana. Hundreds of applicants poured thousands of dollars into their business plans. The state hired a third-party company to score applications in a blind process on a wide range of criteria that included “the character, veracity, background, qualifications, and relevant experience of principal officers or managers.”

Based on a review of the latest publicly available records, about 130 separate business groups won all of the available business licenses, as well as 10 licenses to test marijuana and 21 licenses to transport marijuana.

A Post-Dispatch review found out-of-state pot executives as well as board members of the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, or MoCannTrade, a key industry group, are tied to about two dozen business groups that each won five or more of those licenses or licenses.  

MoCann board member Josh Mitchem, of Kansas City, who along with his father Steve Mitchem, a former evangelist and jewelry executive, were tied to Green Four Ventures LLC, which won

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