Any application that requires a non-refundable fee of $20,000 must be dealt with using extreme care.
That’s the case of 12 companies, who wanted to grow medical marijuana in Ohio, the Cleveland news website reported on Tuesday. In a new lawsuit, they claim that state regulators failed to follow their own rules but benefited from the money.
In addition to the $20,000 fee, applicants must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars more to prepare their applications.
Represented by Jimmy Gould of CannAscend Ohio LLC, the applicants filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, challenging the Ohio Department of Commerce’s process for awarding the highly sought after licenses.
The six applications are Joining CannAscend, Appalachian Pharm Products LLC, CannaMed Therapeutics LLC, Palliatech Ohio LLC, Trillium Holdings Inc. and Schottenstein Aphria LLC.
The applicants are seeking a permanent injunction from awarding operating licenses to the companies for large-scale growing facilities.
The mistakes reported by Cleveland include:
- Five licenses were awarded to companies that should have been disqualified for failing to meet pass-fail criteria or misrepresenting compliance with those requirements.
- The two minority-owned companies that received licenses aren’t actually owned and operated by individuals meeting the law’s definition for the set-aside.
- Scores for 14 of 17 applications reviewed by attorneys were calculated incorrectly.
- Scoring consultants, including two who had knowledge of the scoring rubric in advance of the application deadline, had blatant conflicts of interest with companies awarded licenses.