What Happens When A Dispensary Owner Is Arrested For Alleged Drug Trafficking?

“Any question of suitability is flagged by commission staff and reviewed before a determination is made on their application.”

We noticed last week that one of the owners of an adult-use dispensary in central Mass was swept up in a massive drug raid, but threw it on the back burner, fully expecting the ordeal to catch up with the business eventually.

According to the Massachusetts State Police, in late May staties searched the Worcester home of Evans Klimavich where they reportedly found a “kilogram of suspected cocaine, approximately 50 pounds of marijuana, hundreds of vape cartridges, a quantity of psilocybin mushrooms, and approximately $52,000 in US currency.”

Klimavich, who is listed with the state’s Cannabis Control Commission as a part-owner of Kali Cannabis in Palmer, which is supposed to open later this year, was allegedly caught as a result of the “interception of three kilograms of suspected cocaine mailed from Puerto Rico to a large-scale Massachusetts drug trafficking enterprise.” He was arrested after he showed up at his home during the raid and faces multiple charges.

All of which begs the question: Will Kali Cannabis still be able to open as scheduled? Will it be able to open at all? Thankfully, a local reporter from the Reminder sought answers:

Suzanne Melanson, Klimavich’s business partner and co-owner of Kali Cannabis, could not be reached for comment as to whether this development would impact the business’s scheduled July grand opening.

At this time, Kali Cannabis has a provisional license from the Cannabis Control Commission, which is a step required by the commission in the process of obtaining a final license, according to CCC Press Secretary Tim Caputo.

Caputo said the commission is required to make a determination of suitability for licensure for each individual and entity listed on an application, which is based, in part, on the background checks. Background checks include but are not limited to state and national criminal and civil database records, as well provide a complete list of all legal history both criminal and civil, along with a required [Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information] check.

“Any question of suitability is flagged by commission staff and reviewed before a determination is made on their application,” Caputo said.

According to Caputo, “pursuant to commission regulations, specifically the various suitability tables under 935 CMR 500.801(3), certain types of felonies will disqualify a person from being either a licensee or registered agent of a marijuana establishment. The specific types of disqualifying felonies vary depending on license type and what role the proposed individual is to have at the establishment. That said, not every felony would disqualify an individual from licensure or agent registration on its face.”

However, Caputo said “the commission cannot comment on an individual applicant’s suitability for licensure.”

To be continued …