Former Detroit Lions star wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, along with former Lions guard Rob Sims, have been trying to get into Michigan’s medical cannabis business but their efforts are being blocked by the state board. The pair of former NFL players are the business partners behind CRJJA Ventures, a company seeking approval from the state of Michigan to grow, process, and sell medical cannabis. While the group had applied for several business licenses related to their cannabis enterprise, the state’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board denied them all due to Johnson’s past traffic violations. Board member and a retired Michigan State Police sergeant Don Bailey said of the denial: “I don’t think that’s the type of person we can rely on to successfully operate in the regulated market.”
Obtaining proper credentials in order to sell and/or commercially grow medicinal cannabis in Michigan involves an intense series of financial and criminal reviews of the applicants’ history and the approval of the board once the information has been vetted. The specific information used for the reviews is not made public, however. With regards to the application from CRJJA Ventures, Bailey stated that a few “very minor traffic violations” were of a concern and that “There are warrants out…When confronted by LARA with these issues the response was they may take steps in the future to take care of the problems.”
John Truscott, a spokesperson for Johnson, said that he was “perplexed” as to why the applications were denied given that the traffic violations were only speeding tickets that occurred when Johnson was in training camp in Atlanta and that they had already been resolved. Truscott went on to add “When it was brought up, he (Johnson) flew to Atlanta in early October…They’re resolved; the board has the documentation from the court in Atlanta.” According to City of Atlanta Municipal Court records, Truscott’s account is validated as Johnson did appear in court on Oct. 9th to resolve two open traffic violations that occurred from 2009 and 2014 and of the total four violations, all are listed as “closed” by Atlanta’s court system.
However, board member Vivian Pickard said that the alleged lack of attention to the traffic violations showed a “disrespect for the law.” Going on to note that: “There was a history, there was a continuous pattern or history; not just one,” before voting to deny the approval for the license applications. While Bailey also took issue with Sims, he did not disclose what issues he had. According to Truscott the issue was regarding a house that Sims owns which had building citations issued that were not fixed fast enough although the property now has a certificate of occupancy and the issue has been taken care of. Truscott said the group CRJJA Ventures plans to appeal the board’s decision immediately. “This also shows that these decisions are to an extent arbitrary,” Truscott said. “The board isn’t following the law.”
Do you believe that Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board is overreacting to past minor violations in denying CRJJA Ventures their licenses?