Ohio lawmakers are now weighing in with a proposed fix for problems with the process being used by the state commerce department in the medical marijuana program.
Republican Senator Bill Coley says his legislation gives Ohio’s Auditor 30 days to do a full audit of growers’ license applications, then gives the department another month to correct problems.
“By doing this, we can remove any clouds of suspicion or impropriety or any suggestions or innuendo of impropriety,” Coley said.
But Auditor David Yost says he doesn't think the program can be paused now, though he’s continuing his audit. And he says he’s not certain an audit could be done in 30 days and he doesn’t know if there are there will be more problems discovered.
“That’s kinda like asking if the Browns are going to be scoreless in the third quarter. You know you’ve got a pretty good gut answer to that question but occasionally they surprise you,” Yost said.
The Auditor found some growers were wrongly excluded due to scoring errors in the process for determining which companies were awarded medical marijuana cultivators’ licenses.
Last year it was also discovered the state used a convicted drug dealer to help grade applications for potential growers.
Yost found two commerce department employees had unlimited access to online accounts of more than 20 application reviewers.
He says those same employees created and managed passwords for the reviewers and that could have allowed an employee to log in as a reviewer to change scores of those applying for large growers’ licenses.
Neither the commerce department or Gov. John Kasich’s office responded to requests for comment.