YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio State Auditor is calling on the Department of Commerce to suspend issuing marijuana cultivation licenses after a surprising discovery.
The State Auditor’s call comes after the discovery that one of the consultants hired by the state to evaluate the cultivator applications is a convicted drug dealer. Yost argues the person’s past may have impacted how the licenses were issued so 2 large-scale cultivators building facilities in Yellow Springs and Springfield may have to put their plans on hold.
The Ohio Department of Commerce under fire… for hiring a medical marijuana consultant with a felony drug conviction. Trevor Bozeman pleaded guilty in 2005 to manufacturing, delivering and possessing drugs. His felony conviction disqualifies from getting a cultivator’s license, despite that the state hired him to issue the licenses.
“Mistakes will happen,” Yellow Springs resident Oni Garrett said. “I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t have done internal investigation or have a task force in charge of fact checking and making sure things like this don’t happen.”
“This is an epic failure,” Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost said in a statement. “I am outraged. 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.”
If licenses are suspended, companies, like Crestco Labs–who plans to build a production plant in Yellow Springs–will have to wait.
“They should have definitely done more research,” Yellow Springs resident Steve McQueen said. “Into their backgrounds if that was going to be something that was going to be a problem.”
Residents, like McQueen are worried about the future of Ohio’s medical marijuana industry… and concerned Yost’s push could delay patients access to the drug.
“A lot of people have been waiting,” Garrett said. “For this to go through, especially with the plants already being established.”
The 50,000 sq. ft. facility will employ 35 people in the beginning phase, with plans to employ as many as 60 people at full capacity. 2 NEWS reached out to Cresco Labs for comments on Yost’s statement and are waiting to hear back.