Missouri regulators have spent $1.3 million to defend themselves in court against a wave of lawsuits filed by businesses that were denied medical marijuana business licenses.

Businesses that didn’t receive permits from the state filed 853 appeals through the state’s Administrative Hearing Commission, and 785 of those cases remained unresolved last week.

State spokeswoman Lisa Cox described the legal fees as a one-time cost associated with getting Missouri’s program up and running, but critics said it is a reflection of problems in the way permits were awarded.

She said the state received 2,270 facility applications but only awarded 348 total licenses.

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