COLUMBUS — Just days after the announcement of the Level I marijuana cultivation licenses, the evaluation process for those applications is being called into question.
Auditor of State Dave Yost released a statement on Wednesday calling on the Commerce Department to suspend the issuance of Level 1 cultivator’s licenses for medical marijuana following media reports that one of the application graders was a convicted drug dealer.
Media reports state that Trevor C. Bozeman, one of three consultants hired by the Department of Commerce to evaluate and grade applications for the licenses, pleaded guilty in 2005 to possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance in Pennsylvania.
“This is an epic failure. I am outraged,” said Yost, a former county prosecutor. “The only proper course of action is to freeze the process, and independently review the evaluation and scoring from the ground up. And the Administration needs to explain how this drug dealer ended up telling the government how to run its fledgling medical marijuana program.”
Without such assurances, the entire program is tainted, Yost said.
Yost has directed his staff to seek additional information to determine whether there were errors made during the selection of those hired to review applications and whether any hiring errors impacted the grading of the license applications.
“We can’t wait for a rear-view mirror audit,” Yost added. “The Commerce Department needs to act today before this train leaves the station.”
An application from Ohio Therapeutics LLC for a facility in Meigs County was one of those which was not awarded a license.
According to a listing of scores from the Department of Commerce, the application for the Ohio Therapeutics’ facility, which was to be located in Racine, received a score of 147.64.
Harvest Grows LLC, with potential sites in Lawrence County and Cuyahoga County, was awarded one of the licenses with a score of 142.04.
There were 20 applicants with a score equal or greater to that of the Ohio THerapeutics application, with 11 of those being awarded licenses.
A portion of this information provided by the Ohio Auditor’s Office. Sentinel Managing Editor Sarah Hawley contributed to this report.