Green Bombshell: Convicted Drug Dealer Key Player in Medical Marijuana Grading

State Hired Grader with Conviction for Drug Dealing and Pulling A Knife On A Woman While In College In Violation of Its Own Rules for The Industry.

By John Corrigan

(DUBLIN) Stunning revelations regarding the qualifications of people the State of Ohio Department of Commerce hired to grade the Tier I and II applications for Medical Marijuana cultivation in Ohio. One of the firms hired employs Mr. Trevor Bozeman, of Dublin’s ICANN Consulting to the tune of $150,000. But Mr. Bozeman’s work in the recently completed process is being called into question as he is a convicted drug dealer, and under rule, would not be able to work in the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control regulated industry.  

Bozeman plead guilty to one felony count related to manufacturing with intent to distribute marijuana, and plead no contest to one misdemeanor count of each of possessing drug paraphernalia and possessing marijuana on July 5, 2005 in Synder County, Pennsylvania.  Judge Harold Woelfel, Jr. accepted the pleas and sentenced Bozeman to three years’ probation in the case. Bozeman did live up to the terms of his probation and was not arrested again for the same crime.

A copy of the conviction from the archives of Snyder County, PA Court System is not publicly available, but can be accessed by the Court upon request. 3rd Rail Politics has seen an extract of the conviction and can confirm that Bozeman is the person in question. The public website Instant Checkmate, that lists criminal convictions of individuals, contains the same information.

The Department of Commerce has set rules that state no firm involved with the Medical Marijuana industry in Ohio may hire a person with a similar conviction, and had to disclose background checks of each and every person involved in the Application process and anyone who can work in this industry, under Ohio Administrative Code 3796:5-2-03. Under the rules, it is questionable if Bozeman should have even been hired to be part of the review process since he has a disqualifying conviction and cannot work in the industry.

According to the contractual agreement between the State and ICANN Consulting, Bozeman is required to be conversant with all aspect of state law and rule under Section 3796 of the Revised Code. 3796.12 specifies that a conviction such as Bozeman’s precludes anyone from working within the industry in Ohio.

The State Controlling Board authorized the hire of ICANN beginning July 1, 2017 for the purpose of grading Medical Marijuana licensure applications . Unlike employees of the state, a contractor such as ICANN’s Bozeman does not have to undergo a criminal background check. Bozeman did not disclose his 2005 marijuana related conviction and legal trouble.

Bozeman was hence able to review the criminal background checks of applicants, but did not have to submit to one himself, a record that would have precluded him from obtaining a license or working within the industry under Ohio law.

What’s more, Bozeman, who attended Portland, Maine based University of Southern Maine, was arrested on March 4, 2003 in Portland for holding a woman at knifepoint and charged with assault at the time. No conviction ensued, but 2 knives were confiscated from Bozeman.

Bozeman graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 2008, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The contract between the State of Ohio and ICANN Consulting also lists a clause under section 12.2 that requires the vendor, Bozeman and his firm, to do the following: “Contractor agrees to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws regarding smoke-free and drug-free work places and shall make a good faith effort to ensure that neither it nor its employees or permitted subcontractors engaged in the work performed under this Agreement shall purchase, transfer, use or possess illegal drugs or alcohol, or abuse prescription drugs in any way.”

An open question is that since Bozeman signed this contract with the State on June 1, 2017, was he being truthful about his ability to adhere to the contract given his prior conviction? A disclosure of the conviction was not made, that perhaps would have provided the State to re-evaluate its relationship with Bozeman given Section 12.2, and the fact that Bozeman had not prior been able to comply with this section.  The language is vague as to whether or not a prior conviction would disqualify his firm.

With one or more of the applicants who did not gain licensure to appeal the process and or file pre-emptive lawsuits preventing the Department from issuing licenses, the presence of ICANN Consulting on the evaluation team does not appear to bolster the State’s case that the “double blind” process was without flaws.

Stephanie Gostmoski, Assistant Director, Communications for the Ohio Department of Commerce provided the following comment to 3rd Rail, "All consulting companies met the standards provided within their contract. Obviously, we're not surprised to learn that people who applied and didn't get a license are disappointed.  Any applicant who did not receive a license has the right to appeal the decision if they so choose."

Political insider Neil Clark responded to the controversy saying, "As an observer of this, I am shocked and appalled on a project this size that the state didn't make the effort to be extremely thorough. In addition to all of the banking problems and the lack of foresight to deal with the banking issues, the process has been tainted by using a convicted drug dealer as a reviewer of all of these proposals. But after my 37 years, I have watched the state on numerous occasions fail the selections process for major proposals leaving it tainted with political influence."

This is a developing story.