Late last week, Missouri’s Division of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) began releasing numerous product Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) from administrative hold, a move seen as a slight ease in the ongoing dispute between Delta Extraction and state regulatory bodies. This recent development came without prior information to the licensees, leaving operators both relieved and perplexed.

The release of these products marked a shift in a series of events that saw more than 62,000 product SKUs placed on hold. However, the lack of communication from DCR has left operators in a state of confusion, unsure of how to proceed amid the regulatory ambiguity.

Delta Extraction, the licensee of MAN000022, has been at the center of a legal skirmish with the DCR and the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) for more than a month. The core of the dispute revolves around the suspension of Delta’s license, an administrative hold on their products, and a widespread recall notice issued by DCR.

On August 2, products from Delta and other brands were placed on an administrative hold, with Delta among three licensees issued an Order of Immediate Suspension. Subsequent appeals and legal motions ensued, including an Emergency Motion for Stay filed on August 9, urging for an immediate retraction of the license suspension and administrative hold. However, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) request was denied with the judge citing unexhausted options with the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC).

Delta has contended from the beginning that the processes used in manufacturing processes, including the addition of hemp-derived THCA to marijuana distillate, not only complied with Missouri rules and regulations, but that DCR employees were aware of the processes and had been in communication with facility representatives. Additionally, Delta has contended that many of the points raised by the Division have been misrepresented or do not meet the guidelines for recall created by DCR and DHSS. 

Further hearings with the AHC have been continued to December, yet a revocation letter earmarks October 20 as an important milestone date of interest. 

Despite the legal tangle, the recent release of products is a glimpse of respite for Delta and other operators, although the lack of pre-emptive communication from DCR remains a point of concern.

Lisa Cox, Communications Director for Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, stated, “The Department has started the process of lifting some of the administrative holds. We will post information regarding what was lifted and what remains on hold this week.” However, one operator highlighted that the decision to remove products from hold before outlining the implications for licensees leaves them in a perplexing position on how to move forward.

The unfolding scenario underscores a further need for clear communication between regulatory bodies and licensees to navigate the complex regulatory framework, particularly as the state continues to grapple with the legal and operational intricacies surrounding the cannabis industry.

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