Maryland Medical Cannabis Commissioner Harry Robshaw Accused Of Violating Public Trust

BALTIMORE, Oct. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Three applicants for Maryland medical cannabis licenses joined forces in a full-page ad published today in The Baltimore Sun to challenge Maryland Medical Cannabis Commissioner and Grower Subcommittee Chairman Harry Robshaw III to explain:

(1) “factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations” in his recent public statements; and

(2) his subcommittee’s closed-door reversal over 48 hours that went from accepting the double-blind, on-the-merits rankings of the top 15 applicants by Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute (“RESI”) to improperly substituting a lower-ranking, politically-connected applicant and another lower-ranking group for GTI and Maryland Cultivation and Processing, which RESI had ranked in the top 15.

Here is a link to the open letter in today’s Sun – see page 12: 

“As a Commissioner, you hold a position of public trust and are obligated to be transparent and honest in the service you provide to the state body that regulates medical cannabis,” the three companies wrote to Robshaw.  “Yet, your recent public statements contain factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations. It’s time for Marylanders to hear the facts.”

The three applicants cited the unanimous vote of Robshaw’s Grower Subcommittee on July 27, 2016 to accept the RESI top 15 and the reversal of that vote just 48 hours later on July 29. In place of the ousted, higher-ranking companies, the subcommittee instead installed two applicants that RESI had ranked significantly lower, including Holistic Industries, Inc. of Prince George’s County. Holistic’s application contained politically-connected endorsements and was aided by a high-profile, politically-connected lobbyist.

“You claim you had no communication with anyone on the Holistic team” in reversing the subcommittee’s decision within two days, the companies wrote.  “Does ‘anyone’ include Holistic investor Vince Canales, lobbyist Gerry Evans or any other Holistic surrogate or person helping the company? Show Marylanders your phone, text, email and calendar records for the month of July 2016.”    

The three companies also challenged Robshaw to explain his recent inaccurate statements made to The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.  For example, Robshaw told the Post on Sept. 12, 2016, that the subcommittee did not know the identities or locations of the grower applicants before voting to recommend them to the full Commission.

However, the three companies pointed out that, on July 19, 2016, “all grower applicants were required to submit their proposed county locations to the Commission in writing.  Some, like Holistic did on July 20, attached letters of support from State and County officials when they submitted their location responses.”

The Sun reported on Oct. 14, 2016 that Maryland Natural Treatment Solutions had informed the Commission that it was willing to move its growing location if the Commission considered that relevant. Yet, Robshaw and the other commissioners who reversed their positions in 48 hours selected Holistic because it was located in Prince George’s County – despite the fact that RESI ranked Holistic lower at 20 than Maryland Natural Treatment Solutions, which RESI ranked at 17.

The companies asked in their Sun ad, “How could you make an informed decision on geographic diversity without knowing the responses to the questions asking applicants for the county in which they planned to locate?”

“The work of the Commission is vital for helping deliver medical care and treatment to people with serious illnesses. We – and all Marylanders – would appreciate your response to this letter in the next two weeks,” the companies wrote in the Sun ad.

Contact:  Eleanor McManus, Trident DMG – 202-460-1451/