Missouri’s House Democratic Leader said Thursday in Jefferson City that she has several concerns about the state’s medical marijuana program.

Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, and Assistant Minority Floor Leader Tommie Pierson, D-St. Louis, brief Capitol reporters on March 5, 2020 in Jefferson City (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, spoke to Capitol reporters in the House press gallery, after Thursday morning’s adjournment.

Missourinet asked Leader Quade about the three hearings conducted by the House Special Committee on Government Oversight. She says the hearings have left her with even more questions.

“My position is that the rollout has been atrocious,” Quade says. “That we have a lot of questions from conflict to interests to decisions that were made on licensing.”

The oversight committee has been focusing on how licenses have been approved. During hearings, some committee members in both parties have questioned Missouri medical marijuana director Lyndall Fraker’s qualifications and his handling of the program.

Mr. Fraker testified this week that the hearings are all about “money and politics,” and that he stands by all of his decisions.

“I’m quite offended by it. We’ve got a team of folks that, they’ve put their heart and soul into this for over a year now and they’re hurt by this (House oversight committee inquiry). They’re hurt by this inquiry, as well as I am too,” Fraker told House committee members.

The oversight committee has asked questions about the decision to hire a third-party scoring company whose partners are already active in the industry.

As for Leader Quade, she’s frustrated by what she describes as a lack of responsibility, during testimony.

“You know the first couple of hearings were with Director Fraker, and his response is that was the Office of Administration (OA). We had them in yesterday, they bucked it back to the department,” Quade tells the Capitol Press Corps.

Quade says the responsibility lies with the Parson administration.

But House Oversight Committee vice chairman State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, disagrees. Schroer defends Fraker and Governor Parson, saying the issues are with third-party scorers who are unaffiliated with the Parson administration.

The oversight committee has held three hearings. The first one was informational, and the last two have involved committee members asking questions of witnesses.

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