Gifford to The Pulse- “We goofed”
Dr. David Gifford came to WRNI yesterday to speak candidly about the medical marijuana retail store application process. He’s come under fire for the Department of Health’s (DOH) decision to disqualify every applicant to run a so called compassion center and start the entire selection process over again.
Gifford says he knows it’s difficult to believe, but DOH actually failed to count the pages of each application to make sure they didn’t exceed the 25 page limit. In his words, “we goofed up.”
Gifford says when the applications were evaluated, all of the proposals that received below 70 points had stuck to the page limit. The top six applicants had not. It seemed the longer applications had an unfair disadvantage, and DOH saw no option but to start over.
What makes this confusing is DOH allowed unlimited attachments-all of the applications in total were at least 40 pages. Whether the lower scoring applications would have been less impressive regardless of how long their “technical” applications were is up for discussion.
Gifford denies any rumors that the Governor or any other elected officials tried to influence his decision. He calls the compassion center process “too high profile” for anyone to want to meddle with it. He also says no one compassion center applicant convinced the DOH to start the process over.
The DOH started looking at the page limit issue after it received 7 letters of complaint from various applicants ( Gifford originally said 8 letters but he says they counted one of them twice.) He says he is making those letters available to the ACLU and the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC). He’s also agreed to make them available to The Pulse. I will post PDFs of those letters as soon as I receive them.
Now, for your thoughts. Are folks satisfied with Gifford’s explanation for his decision?