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As Arkansans vote on a marijuana legalization amendment that would give existing medical cannabis licencees an overwhelming head start in the multimillion-dollar recreational business, sworn depositions show that the original licensing process was questionable enough to spawn an FBI investigation.
In discussing the depositions, a charter member of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, Dr. J. Carlos Roman, told Arkansas Business last week that he went to the Federal Bureau of Investigation after a license seeker offered him a bribe.
“There was an attempted bribery,” Roman said in an interview, discussing allegations widely reported in 2018 involving Natural State Agronomics, which didn’t receive a license. “I did contact the FBI, and they investigated them. Unfortunately, there was not an indictment against them.”
Roman, a Little Rock pain management physician, said he shared documents with the FBI to show he didn’t accept the bribe offer. His term on the commission, which granted all of Arkansas’ medical cultivation and dispensary licenses, ended in 2018.
The depositions also reveal a Fayetteville doctor’s allegations that an eventual cultivation company part-owner, Dr. Alonzo Williams, had discussed means of gaining influence with commissioners in a meeting of potential cultivation applicants before licenses were awarded….