WHAT'S THAT SMELL: It's the marijuana cultivation permitting process.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Hunter Field reported
this morning a fact long circulated among the sleuths attacking the Medical Marijuana Commission's
scoring of cultivation permit applications.
The winning application by Delta Medical Cannabis
contains sections about the proposed process that seem to have been copied from a lower-scoring applicant's application.
The Democrat-Gazette examination — which, unless I miss my bet, was seeded by investigators working for other unsuccessful applicants who've dug up a mountain of scoring inconsistencies, missed application problems and other flaws in the process — indicates that Michael Langley
, a lawyer and former Alcoholic Beverage Control director (before that agency became responsible for marijuana permitting) helped prepare Delta Medical's application with sections cribbed from work done for the 46th-ranked Courageous Ann's
application by a Colorado consultant on marijuana production.
Nobody's talking so an interesting question isn't addressed: If the scenario is so, how did Langley lay his hands on the application from which material was drawn?
Is this an intellectual property violation? That's a question for the originator of the material and then, perhaps, a court. The material is not exactly rocket science,
but pertains to such things as controlling odors and light from growing operations.
I wondered if the Courageous Ann application was itself a re-use of boilerplate
language used elsewhere, say other states. It does appear from the D-G examination, however, that Delta Medical's application was drawn specifically from materials prepared for Courageous Ann.
Does similarity of language on routine industrial processes in two applications disqualify an applicant? Is copying another's paper a matter for Commission consideration? Or does only the content itself count?
The Commission is currently empowered, as legal matters stand, to award permits to the five top scorers in its initial rating. It may or may not decide to hear individual objections to its decisions based on scoring anomalies, overlooked deficiencies and, perhaps, copycatting.
There's a better course. The Commission should throw the results out, institute a lottery and then assign review of the lottery winners to an outside expert to evaluate. This commission was not ready for prime time. Some individual members' actions smell of undue influence. There will be no confidence in the competency and honesty of the process if the Commission rubberstamps the five top scorers as winners from its initial grading.
The Commission should consider resigning. Some members are undoubtedly fine people. A couple are
too close to the winners (and, in one case, a certain legislator) to be viewed with anything but suspicion.