After news of possible connections between experts hired to evaluate marijuana business applications and the applicants, Maryland marijuana officials are investigating potential conflicts of interest.
During the review process, 20 independent experts were hired to score businesses’ applications, after which Maryland marijuana regulators chose which businesses would receive preliminary licenses based off of their given scores, as reported by The Washington Post.
Out of the 145 businesses who applied to grow and process marijuana, the state selected only 15 finalists. Many found issue in the fact that out of all the finalists chosen, none were minorities. Maryland lawmakers recently rejected a request for a special legislative session in hopes of creating diversity. The state is handling the possibility of conflicts of interest as a separate situation.
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has already sent emails to several businesses this week. The emails, which were supposed to remain confidential, asked that businesses admit to any significant relationships with any of the hired experts.
“The commission is requesting each applicant to verify that none of its agents, including owners, investors and employees, has any relationship with one of the subject matter experts retained by RESI that could be viewed as a conflict of interest,” the email stated, as reported by The Washington Post. “If any individual in your organization had any affiliation or relationship with any of the subject matter experts, please describe in detail the name of the individual, the nature of the relationship and the earliest date on which that relationship existed.”
The email did not indicate the potential consequences for businesses that admit to having had a relationship with an expert.