Nevada Pot Regulators
Embracing Secrecy Only a Drug Lord could Love
By Chuck Muth
November 27, 2014
hard to imagine how much worse the Division of Public and Behavioral Health
(DPBH) could have possibly screwed up bringing legal marijuana sales to Nevada
despite the stated objective of the Legislature to create the national “gold
standard” for regulatory approval and oversight.
fact, the unbelievable level of in-the-shadows secrecy about its operations
would make Pablo Escobar himself green with envy!
in August, would-be Medical Marijuana Establishment (MME) operators submitted
to DPBH over 500 applications – some weighing close to a ton; and that’s with
only slight embellishment – and paid the princely sum of $5,000 to have those
applications reviewed, evaluated, rated and ranked by the Division.
then gave those applications to nameless, unidentified bureaucrats - or
independent contractors; no one knows for sure - to evaluate.The applicants were given no information
whatsoever as to who was doing the evaluations, what their qualifications and
experience were, or what biases they may or may not bring to the evaluation
all we know, they could have been street dealers from Harlem.
three months of reviewing hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, these
shadowy evaluators – who may or may not have been required to wear ski-masks
coming and going from work - released composite scores for each application on
give you just a hint of how screwed up this grading process was, one of the
highest-rated applicants applied for three dispensary licenses in different
parts of the state.
application for all three locations.
wildly different scores.
in the world is that possible?
ask the Division.They’re stonewalling
public records requests and keeping the whole operation as secret as what goes
on at Area 51.Indeed, the level of omerta
being deployed by DPBH personnel would make Michael Corleone himself proud.
each application was secretly graded on seven separate “Merit Criteria”
categories, the Division has only released the composite scores of each
application, not the sub-scores for each category.
out of a possible total of 250 points, let’s say an applicant scored 183.Where did the application come up short?Was the security plan found deficient?Was the business plan judged less than
ideal?Did the enterprise lack sufficient
one knows.Because the Division refuses
to disclose the information.Not only to
the applicants, but to the public.Even
for applicants who signed a “consent to release” form allowing the Division to
publish the information.
is not what the Legislature intended.This
is not a “gold standard” operation.
way past time for the DPBH to stop operating in the shadows like common back-alley
drug dealers and bring this evaluation process into the light of day through
full public disclosure and transparency.
Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grassroots advocacy
organization.He can be reached at
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