Missouri Cannabis Regulators Unable to Access FBI’s National Fingerprint Database

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) notified the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) last year that the agency will not have access to the national fingerprint background check database, which means the state’s licensed medical cannabis companies cannot perform background checks on prospective employees during the hiring process, according to The Kansas City Star.

When voters passed the state’s adult-use cannabis legalization initiative in 2018, a provision was added to the Missouri Constitution that requires the DHSS to confirm that owners, officers, managers, contractors, employees and other support staff hired by licensed medical cannabis facilities have not committed a felony, which would disqualify them from working in the industry, The Kansas City Star reported.

DHSS received permission from the FBI to access its background check database to screen its medical cannabis business license applicants, according to the news outlet, but the department has not received the green light to access the database to screen the licensees’ employees.

The FBI indicated that it would reconsider this position if Missouri passed a law that codifies a requirement for background checks, according to the news outlet. The DHSS then requested that lawmakers propose legislation to get such a law on the books, and Missouri Rep. Lane Roberts proposed a bill, H.B. 1896, which received a legislative hearing Jan. 29.

If the bill does not ultimately pass or if the FBI does not change its stance, the DHSS plans to have employees attest on the penalty of perjury that they have not committed any felony offenses, The Kansas City Star reported.

The DHSS issued its medical cannabis testing lab licenses, as well as its cultivation licenses, in December, and last month, the department licensed the state’s medical cannabis manufacturers and dispensaries.

DHSS aims to launch medical cannabis sales this spring, and the state’s licensed cannabis companies are in the process of hiring their employees; Midwest Canna Expos is hosting two job fairs in the state this week, The Kansas City Star reported.

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