Plans To Grow Medical Marijuana At Seneca Army Depot May Go Up In Smoke
The business man that pitched proposal to Romulus Town Board
failed to disclose surrender of marijuana license in Colorado
7/8/15 @ 11:39 pm
Last Updated on 7/9/15 @ 3:22 pm
FingerLakes1.com has learned that the man behind the recent proposal to develop a medical marijuana growing facility at the former Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, New York, a small town located in the state’s pristine Finger Lakes Region, has surrendered his medical marijuana license in Colorado based on alleged improprieties in that state.
The Colorado Department of Revenue, Marijuana Enforcement Division, named Josh Stanley in a lawsuit alleging misconduct in connection with his business, Nutritional Supplements, a Colorado limited liability company in Boulder, Colorado.
When Stanley pitched his proposal to grow medical marijuana at the vacant Army Depot to Romulus town officials in April of this year, he had already surrendered his license to sell marijuana in Colorado – a fact he did not disclose to Romulus officials who were asked to support his plans.
Romulus officials backed Stanley’s proposal to build a large scale climate controlled greenhouse to grow marijuana on a 20-acre site within the 11,000-acre former Army base that closed in 2000, a plan Stanley said which would ultimately create 200 local jobs.
While Stanley’s plans in New York were well publicized, the plan was contingent on Stanley being approved by the NYS Department of Health for one of five grower’s licenses to be issued statewide.
David M. Kaiser, Romulus town supervisor, told the Syracuse Post Standard in April, “We are really excited about this because we need living wage jobs. A lot of families here are struggling.”
After surrendering his license to sell marijuana in Colorado, Stanley came to New York last year and, using Mercury Public Affairs, a lobbying and public relations firms, conducted what was a well-orchestrated public relations effort that resulted in dozens of stories touting Stanley and his plans. Nowhere in any press account available online did FingerLakes1.com find any mention of Stanley’s entry into a stipulation with the State of Colorado to surrender his license and pay a fine of $5,000 in May 2014 in response to the Show Cause Order brought against Stanley by the State of Colorado in February 2014 that cited seven seperate violations. Just the opposite. Stanley has been cast in press reports as a pioneer in medical marijuana and a possible front runner for one of the five medical marijuana licenses to be issued in New York State – out of a field of 43 applicants.
Stanley claims to have helped discover the famous Charlotte’s Web marijuana strain which has been used to successfully treat epileptic children, and that based on his “discovery” he worked on legislation to legalize medical marijuana in seven states.
Actually, according to public records, Stanley Brothers Social Enterprise, a company which does not include Josh, but four of his brothers, developed, grow and distribute Charlotte’s Web, and unlike Josh Stanley, have a license in good standing, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.
The legal issues in Colorado for Josh Stanley however raise questions of non-disclosure in New York if Stanley, in applying for a license in New York, or in his promotional efforts to attract investors, failed to disclose his legal issues with the Colorado Dept. of Revenue.*
* In a statement from Stanley’s Public Relations Firm, published in full below, it is stated that this information was disclosed to the State of New York in the application
The New York medical marijuana application requires, along with a $10,000 initial fee, a detailed description of how the applicant plans to operate the proposed medical marijuana facility, his or her experience in medical marijuana, a set of fingerprints, and a sworn affidavit under penalty of perjury that the statements made on the application are true.
If the initial application is accepted by the state, a second $200,000 fee is required for the state to vet the application.
The New York State Department of Health has said it plans to name the five companies or individuals it has selected sometime this month.
During the past few months, Stanley has frequently claimed the reason he was relocating from Colorado to New York was because he saw superior potential in New York for medical marijuana research based on the stricter regulatory requirements of Gov. Andrew Cuomo Compassionate Care Act with its emphasis on strict and limited medical uses of medical marijuana in New York which Stanley says will encourage research leading to development of new strains.
The reality, however, of Stanley’s exodus out of Colorado seems more to be his loss of his Medical Marijuana Center License, his Premises Cultivation License, his medical marijuana-infused products manufacturer license, which were suspended when the Colorado Department of Revenue, State Licensing Authority, Marijuana Enforcement Division filed an order to show cause in February 2014 charging that Stanley, personally and through various companies and with a partner, Kevin Lamar, delivered marijuana to “unauthorized locations,” “unlawfully possessed medical marijuana plants” that were not grown on its licensed premises, failed to keep a complete set of records necessary to show where the marijuana came from and where it went , and refused or were unable to disclose to the state the whereabouts of an undetermined amount of marijuana based on missing records that included patient counts, patient records, and point of sales transactions.
In Colorado, a licensed cultivator must accurately complete a travel manifest prior to transporting medical marijuana.
New York State has developed similar regulation.
Colorado also charged in words that Stanley provided the state a transportation manifest “with imperfect information regarding the origin of the transported marijuana plants, number of transported marijuana plants, and type of transported marijuana plants” and that Stanley moved his marijuana location without notifying the State Licensing Authority.
Rather than fight the charges, Stanley entered into a “voluntary stipulation” to surrender his license to sell marijuana in Colorado in May 2014, paid a $5,000 fine, and if he wanted to reapply within 5 years, the State of Colorado could use this voluntary surrender and stipulation as a reason to deny his license. At the end of five years (2019) Stanley can reapply but is not guaranteed a new license in Colorado.
His issues in Colorado could be a deal killer in New York where Governor Cuomo has written into the regulations stringent control measures, the type of which Stanley allegedly violated in Colorado – but stricter.
While Colorado now permits the sale of marijuana for recreational use, New York will only allow the use of medical marijuana for physician approved treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disorder, neuropathies and Huntington’s disease.
* The original version of this article included the sentence, “Stanley’s five-year Colorado suspension began May 2014 and ends May 2019.” which was based on the wording in item #7 of the Stipulation, Order & Agreement linked below.
Legal documents referenced in this article:
Stanley’s Public Relations Firm issued the following statement in response to this article:
The fact that FingerLakes1.Com would publish a story with no byline that is completely false raises disturbing questions, not just about the quality of journalism at the website, but about who was behind the error-filled hit job.
FingerLakes1.com owes it to its readers and to Josh Stanley to name the person behind this story so that the public will see the vicious and self-serving motives of that person. It is one thing to protect a source, but to hide the name of the writer is unprecedented and we believe must be disclosed.
Josh’s license in Colorado was never suspended, he does not face a five year ban and Josh has been completely transparent about his history in Colorado with the State of New York Health Department, disclosing more information than required as a show of good faith.
All this would have been easily learned had FingerLakes1.com contacted Citiva, Josh’s company here in New York. Unfortunately, the low-life who wrote the story, and whose identity is being hidden from the public by FingerLakes1.com, didn’t care about the facts. In fact, this same dirt-peddler has tried to get other media outlets to write the story, but has had no success because they asked questions first and learned the truth. What does that say about FIngerLakes1.com?
But here they are:
Josh Stanley sold his interest in Nutritional Supplements in July 2013 – he was a 50 percent owner until that time. He sold because he was planning to move out of Colorado to pursue opportunities elsewhere. As of that time, he was no longer an owner or operator of the company.
His license expired in January of 2014. Josh let it lapse because he was no longer an owner or operator of the business. He never applied to renew the license. It was never suspended. It simply lapsed because he let it lapse.
In February 2014, the company was cited for paperwork violations related to its plant manifest – meaning you have to keep records about specific marijuana plants’ exact locations. In this case, a handful of plants were moved a matter of a few feet from one part of the building to another part of the same building. The paperwork allegedly didn’t accurately reflect that.
Josh was included in the citation, clearly in error. He had solid his interest in the company and was no longer an operator. In fact, his former partner, Kevin Lamar, submitted a letter stating Josh had no financial interest or operational control of the business at the time of the violation.
But it’s never so simple dealing with government regulators. Josh faced a choice: settle the matter for $5,000 and voluntarily surrender his expired and useless license, or fight the charges with the help of a lawyer. The cost of a lawyer would have been as much as 10 times the amount of the fine ($50,000). Plus, because he had moved from Colorado, he also faced travel costs associated with attending hearings. He took the best of two bad choices, and paid the fine to settle the matter and move on with his life.
The stipulation specifically states Josh voluntarily surrendered the expired license and can reapply at any time for a new one should he choose. The license was never suspended and there is no 5-year ban. It’s also important to note that this was the only time in the five years he held the license that Josh was cited for a violation. Again: He was never once cited previously and this one time was clearly in error.
All of this was disclosed by Josh Stanley’s lawyers in Citiva’s application to the New York Department of Health, including copies of the stipulation agreement from Colorado and Kevin Lamar’s letter explaining Josh had no involvement with the company at the time of the violation. The insinuation in your story that he hide this incident is disgusting and outrageous.
Further, there is no dispute that Josh was a co-founder of the strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web. Your website included a link to the TED talk he did on the topic, and Charlotte and her mother are both included in that link. Josh has never claimed he was the sole creator of the strain, nor has he said that Citiva would sell Charlotte’s Web. He wishes his brother’s well in their efforts and their future business interests.
Countless media articles over the years have correctly cited Josh as a pioneer in the field of medical marijuana. That clearly makes some people competing for license here in New York nervous, even jealous. But until FingerLakes1.com discloses the name of the sad little person behind this horrible story, we will never know the truth of their hateful motivations. FIngerLakes1.com owes it to the public to disclose the writer’s name, correct the record and apologize to Josh Stanley.
Stanley and his company were sued in June 2014 by Jeffrey Howell:
In June 2014, shortly after Stanley’s voluntary surrender of his medical marijuana licenses in Colorado and eleven months after he sold his interest in the company, Jeffery Howell brought a lawsuit against Stanley and his Colorado marijuana company, Nutritional Supplements, claiming Stanley cheated him out of a one third interest in the company and all told was fleeced out of $61,000 in cash. The case has since been settled.
– Click here to view the complaint (.pdf)
Stanley’s TEDx presentation in Boulder, CO in 2013: