by Rick Thompson/August 23, 2019
LANSING- Wild Bill’s Tobacco Shops have again been rebuffed in their effort to enter the regulated marijuana business industry in Michigan.
Under the name Oasis Wellness Centers, the ownership team from the state’s largest tobacco retailer was handed 38 license denials in a single day by Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) in their weekly report from August 12-16. The report was issued on August 22nd. A previous effort to secure prequalification for cannabis businesses by the same group was refused under the former regulatory agency, the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR), when the applications were reviewed by the now-defunct Licensing Board.
The 38 license denial is the most sweeping rejection to date in the Michigan marijuana business industry. The duo of Mazin Samona and Paul Weisberger are the individuals named on all of the refused applications.
More than three of the report’s seven pages are devoted to detailing rejections of applications from the group.
The group attempted to secure licenses for provisioning centers in Walled Lake; Sturgis; Niles; two in Lansing; Battle Creek; two in Bay City; Adrian; Bangor Township; Kalamazoo; and three centers without a location specified. They also sought a processor license in Lansing and two in Bangor Township.
Most significantly, the group was rejected in their attempt to secure 20 Class C growing licenses in Bangor Township; if approved, the group would have been given control of 30,000 cannabis plants at that single facility. They also were refused a license for a Class C grower operation in Lansing.
The reason: “Section 402(3)(a) The applicant’s integrity, moral character, and reputation. Section 402(2)(c) The applicant has knowingly submitted an application for a license under this act that contains false information.”
This is the same section of law used to reject the group’s previous applications. One of the applicants failed to disclose required information to the BMMR. According to conversation had between Board members during a Licensing Board meeting, the group was resistant to compliance with BMMR investigators.
Social media pundits estimate that the group spent more than $320,000 in application fees to the state in their now-rejected effort to gain a controlling presence in Michigan’s still-developing cannabis industry.
Now the BMMR has become the MRA but the Oasis/Wild Bill’s people are still the same. So are the people making decisions at the state’s regulatory agency, meaning the duo of Samona and Weisberger are unlikely to get approved for any regulated cannabis businesses going forward.