Former head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, is serving as a board member of Botanical Sciences, LLC, one of six cannabis businesses to win licenses last month under Georgia’s limited medical cannabis program.
As health and human services secretary, Price never initiated proceedings to formally recognize cannabis’s medical value and reschedule it under federal law.
As a congressman, he voted six times against appropriations bill amendments to shield state medical marijuana programs from federal interference by the Department of Justice. On three occasions, he opposed appropriations measures to allow U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis for their military veteran patients.
Former state Rep. Allen Peake (R), who sponsored the legislation that created the Georgia medical cannabis program, slammed Price’s involvement in the industry.
“To have a guy who fought so diligently against everything we’ve worked so hard to accomplish here in Georgia and then receive a license, it was a tough pill to swallow,” said Peake. “It’s the height of hypocrisy.”
Class 1 licenses, of which Botanical Sciences is set to receive one of two being awarded by officials, authorize up to 100,000 square feet of cultivation space and allow for the manufacture of low-THC cannabis medicines. Those businesses can also be issued up to five dispensary licenses.
“To think that someone so anti-cannabis is now on the board of a company that received a license and that he will be able to financially benefit from medical cannabis sales in Georgia is truly sickening and a slap in the face of every parent, patient, and advocates who fought so hard for the past seven years to bring a medical cannabis program in our state,” said Sebastien Cotte, co-founder and board member of Georgia’s Hope.
After only seven months as President Trump’s HHS secretary, Price resigned under a cloud of corruption and widespread criticism for hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable travel expenses. Price now becomes part of an industry that generates billions of dollars in sales annually.