Bartlett removed herself from the licensing process and appointed Karen van Unen as director of the medical marijuana program. Delahunt’s group eventually won three provisional licenses.
The Department of Public Health has put all applications under further review and stressed that final licenses have not yet been issued, but Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowitz has said he does not believe the department should have to restart the application process.
Gov. Deval Patrick, in a radio appearance on Friday, also said the licensing process did not need to be restarted, citing nine additional steps before final licenses are awarded, including verification of information submitted on applications. He said the fact that the 20 finalists were made public shows the DPH’s desire to be transparent with the process.
“If somebody lied on their application, they’re not going to get a license,” Patrick said, urging the public to “relax” and defending the steps Bartlett took to remove a conflict of interest.
The governor called the inclusion of unauthorized testimonials from public officials in support of dispensaries on application “very, very troubling stuff” but insisted that references would be checked before final licenses are granted.
“I think the public should relax. There’s a lot of interest, a lot of money involved in this industry. There’s going to be sour grapes. There are going to be people dropping dimes, the unsuccessful ones. That’s part of it. At the end of it, we’re going to have licensees we can all be confident in,” Patrick said.