US (MO): Federal lawsuit reveals behind-the-scenes saga of failed testing lab

After Missouri voters legalized medical cannabis in November 2018, Jefferson City lobbyist Jeffrey Altmann went to work. Altmann knew out-of-state investors would be looking for Missouri residents to partner with — since Missourians, by law, needed to have majority ownership in cannabis businesses.

Touting his political connections, Altmann caught the attention of an investor from a New York-based pharmaceutical company named Matt Wolf. Altmann is the owner of Viceroy Government Relations, a lobbying firm he has operated since 2017. His brother Daniel worked for the legislature for two years and eventually as a lobbyist for the Missouri Secretary of State’s office in early 2019.

Wolf agreed to partner with the Altmanns on a cannabis license application after meeting for several hours at Felix’s restaurant in St. Louis in July 2019. As they left, they all shook hands, and Wolf told them: “We are going to make a lot of money together.” But that’s not what happened.

Despite being one of the first cannabis licenses awarded in the state, their testing lab, Botannis Labs MO Corp., never got off the ground in Springfield because of a series of internal battles between Wolf and the brothers. Missouri’s cannabis regulators eventually revoked their license.


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