Ohio Application Scorer Has Ties With Winner of Cultivation License

Ohio Application Scorer Has Ties With Winner of Cultivation License

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In Ohio, more questions are being raised about the state’s medical marijuana licensing process as news emerged that one of the consultants hired to score applications had business ties with one of the applicants awarded a cultivation license.

Earlier this year, the Ohio Department of Commerce hired three consultancy firms to score medical marijuana applications, including the firm Meade & Wing. According to Cleveland.com, the firm’s chief financial officer, Keoki Wing, had previously worked for two medical marijuana companies, Nature Med Inc. and AOW Management.

Those two companies are or were owned by the president and CEO of Harvest, whose Ohio-based subsidiary, Harvest Grows, LLC, was recently awarded a level I cultivation license, raising questions about the integrity of the application process.

In its defense, the department claims that, given the relatively small size of the marijuana industry, it would be impossible to track down every single conflict of interest, which is why the state uses a “blind” application process.

This is the second controversy in as many weeks regarding the integrity of the state’s medical marijuana application process. The previous controversy arose when it was revealed that one of the state’s application scorers was a convicted felon.

Despite objections, the department still plans on moving forward with the licensing process.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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