A medical cannabis company has filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission claiming the scoring and evaluations of industry applications were shrouded by “conflicts of interest” and licenses were “bought and sold through closed-door politics and backroom deals,” FOX 5 reports.
Cumberland Curative President Charlie Arnold said he believes his company, which filed the lawsuit, was cheated out of a chance to obtain a state medical cannabis license.
“If there is no wrongdoing or corruption, then why not turn these applications, evaluation sheets, etc. over to the public.” – Arnold to FOX 5
“We heard in December of 2020 before the applications were submitted, directly from high up, public officials in both Democrat and Republican Party, that four of the six licenses are spoken for,” Arnold told FOX 5.
Under Georgia’s medical cannabis law, winning bids are redacted and kept secret from the losing bidders, the public, and the media, the report says, and the scoring of applications – which is conducted by political appointees – is also secret.
State Rep. Alan Powel (R) said he tried to fix the problems caused by the secretive bidding process by adding all the companies protesting the bid awards to the list of winning bidders. He described the effort as “not perfect” but “the best solution” available to him.
“I smell a rat in the woodpile,” Powel told Fox 5, “this process was destined for handpicked folks.”
State Rep. Bill Werkheiser (R) introduced legislation to start the entire process over, but that bill was not approved by the House.
The lawsuit was filed in Fulton County Superior Court and seeks to disclose the bid processes.