ATLANTA – State legislators have vowed to show the medical marijuana bid course of the other way up, probably rewriting the legislation and reopening the bid course of.
The Georgia Medical Hashish Fee lately chosen six corporations to provide medical marijuana.
However following a FOX 5 I-Team investigation, lawsuits, bid protests, and heavy criticism of the bid course of legislators demanded solutions from the fee.
“Do we have to step in and alter the elements which are so arbitrary that’s creating this meltdown to getting this factor accomplished?” mentioned State Consultant Alan Powell.
A pissed off oversight committee on the State Capitol, lashed out on the Medical Marijuana Fee govt director in regards to the secrecy, the bid scoring, and the sluggish rollout of medication.
“I need to get individuals assist at this time, not subsequent month,” mentioned State Consultant Rick Williams.
The Regulated Industries Committee assembly adopted an I-Staff investigation of the profitable bidders, the submitting of 21 bid protests, and heavy lobbying by dropping bidders.
Florida firm Trulieve was one of many profitable bidders. The corporate’s CEO Kim Rivers is married to a person recently convicted of public corruption charges in Florida. JT Burnette bragged on undercover tapes about how he and a Florida legislator made “little tweaks that offer you some benefit” to the marijuana laws in Florida.
Truleive mentioned JT Burnette had no function with Truelieve Ga.
Then there was Jigar Patel of Nature’s GA, additionally a profitable bidder. Patel was as soon as a enterprise affiliate with a person in Massachusetts who admitted in court docket to bribing an area Massachusetts Mayor to win his medical marijuana license.
Nature’s GA wrote to say it was irrelevant “as a result of the corporate separated ties with that particular person lengthy earlier than our Georgia software was submitted.”
And, lastly, we discovered Michael Mayes at a Georgia Entry to Medical Hashish Fee. He supplied recommendation to the fee, despatched in license software directions, and volunteered to be a advisor without cost. He promised he would not bid.
The fee by no means employed him as a advisor. Michael Mayes ended up as one of many profitable bidders.
Critics, like dropping bidder Georgia Atlas lawyer Jerome Lee noticed a potential battle.
“Wow. I used to be not conscious of that. It seems actual dangerous when you do not put that out entrance,” mentioned Lee.
The Regulated Industries Committee expressed concern to the Medial Hashish Govt Director, Andrew Turnage. Their fundamental grievance: the closely redacted bids proven in our latest investigation.
It’s proper right here for anybody to see. Web page after blacked out web page of redacted materials. Some bids are nearly 100% redacted.
Hashish Fee Govt Director Andrew Turnage defined the fee was following the legislation because it was written by legislators, and he could not inform them who scored the bids, or how they reached these scores as a result of – by legislation – it’s confidential.
“I take it without any consideration that those who did the judging had been the commissioners. (They had been) And I might have liked if they’d introduced in a 3rd get together advisor. (They did not) Effectively, a mistake,” mentioned Rep. Powell.
The Commissioners, who picked the profitable bidders and who knew who was working every firm, are all political appointees, chosen by both the Governor, Lt. Governor, or Speaker of the Home.
The businesses that bid had been chock stuffed with politically related gamers like former Georgia Congressman Tom Worth who was on the board of administrators of one of many profitable bids.
Through the bid course of, one profitable applicant Trulieve introduced a financial partnership with the Morehouse School of Medicine to review medical marijuana, in accordance with a Trulieve press launch.
Hashish Fee Chairman Dr. Christopher Edwards is a graduate of Morehouse Faculty of Medication.
Consultant Micah Gravely co-wrote the medical marijuana payments.
(Something you are able to do?) “We will proceed to push. We will proceed to start out asking questions. Clearly we are able to begin asking the proper questions of when is oil going to be prepared for the individuals of this state,” mentioned Rep. Gravley.
Committee Chairman Alan Powell mentioned after all of the complaints and all of the unanswered questions, it is time to reexamine the bids and the legislation.
“Perhaps what we have to do is go some modifications, you ain’t obtained to start out from scratch, however you possibly can definitely change the entire construction of how they do it. Put aside all this bid enterprise and open it again up. (Begin throughout?) Begin throughout,” mentioned Powell.
He has informed the committee he needs one other listening to and extra info earlier than the tip of the yr.
WATCH: FOX 5 NEWS LIVE COVERAGE
GET BREAKING NEWS EMAIL ALERTS FROM FOX 5
DOWNLOAD THE FOX 5 ATLANTA APP FOR BREAKING NEWS AND WEATHER ALERTS