COLUMBUS, Ohio — A company that failed to win a state license to cultivate medical marijuana is criticizing the state for apparently hiring a man with a felony drug conviction to score the applications.
“The state of Ohio has a lot of explaining to do … they hired a convicted drug dealer for $150,000 to score applications for the Ohio medical marijuana industry,” said Jimmy Gould, chairman of CannAscend Ohio, the rejected would-be cultivator.
Applicants to grow medical marijuana were required to undergo criminal background checks, Gould noted.
“Did the Department of Commerce not think it important to check and report the fact that at least one of the scorers of the medical marijuana control program had a criminal record for dealing drugs … did they require a background check to get a license, but not to give a license?” Gould asked in a statement.
Court records verified by The Dispatch show a Trevor C. Bozeman was convicted of manufacturing, delivering and possessing drugs, with intent to manufacture or deliver, in Middleburg, Pennsylvania, in 2005.
The records do not provide details of the offense. They also show misdemeanor charges of use and possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use, that were dismissed.
Bozeman, now age 33, of Brunswick, Maine, paid $2,131 in fines and costs and was placed on probation for three years, which court records show he successfully completed.
Ohio incorporation papers show a Trevor Bozeman formed ICANN Consulting, with a Dublin address, in late 2016, The Dispatch confirmed.
The company was one of three to receive a $150,000 state contract in June to score applications submitted by those seeking licenses to grow medical marijuana.
Messages seeking comment from Bozeman were left Tuesday morning at two telephone numbers listed in his name.
Stephanie Gostomski, a spokeswoman for the Department of Commerce, said the agency is checking the allegation made by CannAscend.
ICANN Consulting appeared to meet all the requirements to receive the state contract and its scoring appeared to be done professionally, she said.
CannAscend’s bid to win a medical marijuana cultivation contract was rejected after it scored poorly in evaluations and failed to meet requirements, Gostomski said.
Gould said the situation reflected “significant irregularities” that should be investigated.
“This is the start of a billion dollar industry and the fact that the start is marred by arbitrary and capricious irregularities is troubling and deserves a thorough and deep review,” he said.
The state recently awarded licenses for both small and large medical-marijuana grow operations. Medical marijuana is expected to be available in about a year.