Marijuana Licensing Went Awry Early On, Records Show

MASSACHUSETTS:  A contractor hired by the state health department to rank companies hoping to open medical marijuana dispensaries acknowledged in internal e-mails that it simply ran out of time to conduct thorough checks of some applications. Still, the health department extended the company’s contract and more than doubled its pay, records show.

A different contractor was awarded a lucrative no-bid deal to conduct in-depth background checks yet failed to detect that a couple hired by several applicants to run proposed dispensaries had lost their own marijuana business license in Colorado because of violations.

These latest revelations open a wider window onto the state’s troubled effort to grant licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, a process so flawed that regulators spent five months untangling the mess.

A Globe review shows that the state’s licensing process went off the tracks nearly from the beginning, hobbled by too little time, too many conflicts of interest, and questionable work from highly paid contractors.

 

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