BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – Massachusetts Republicans are looking for a change in the medical marijuana licensing process.
Republicans in the Commonwealth are calling the state's medical marijuana licensing process secretive and allege that Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett is too connected with former Congressman and licensing applicant William Delahunt, according to an article in the Patriot Ledger. The MassGOP asked that Governor Deval Patrick kill the licensing process and make a commission similar to the state's Gaming Commission to deal with licensing.
"The public cannot have faith in the decisions made by the Department of Public Health because of the apparent conflict of interest for Commissioner Bartlett and the secrecy surrounding the awarding of licenses," MassGOP Executive Director Rob Cunningham said in the article.
Former Chief Operating Officer of the Dorchester Public Health Program Karen van Unen was recently appointed executive director of the medical marijuana program, the Ledger reported. Final recommendations for registered marijuana dispensary applicants will be presented to van Unen this month. About 100 applicants are hoping to gain one of the 35 available licenses.
Republicans said van Unen's new position does not eliminate the conflict issue because she reports directly to Bartlett.
"Placing the final decision in the hand of a single individual is an invitation for trouble, and the Patrick Administration is inviting lawsuits and a federal investigation. It's disturbing that such a transparent process was developed to hand out casino licenses, but the state is handing out licenses to sell marijuana based on a closed door process tainted by conflicts of interest," he said in the article.
For more: patriotledger.com.