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Delahunt resigns from medical marijuana firm

Former Congressman William Delahunt is no longer associated with Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts, the company said. Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe/file/Globe Freelance

Former congressman William D. Delahunt has resigned as president of a company that lost its proposal to open three medical marijuana dispensaries, in Plymouth, Mashpee, and Taunton, following a contentious and controversial state selection process.

Delahunt announced his resignation from Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts during a meeting Monday between the company’s executive team and the editorial board of The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, according to a member of Delahunt’s team who was present.

“It was his decision,” Dr. Trexler M. Topping, the company’s medical director, said during a brief telephone interview. He said Delahunt has no stake in the business and will no longer play any role in the company.

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The nonprofit company will remain intact, Topping said, and continue to press a lawsuit it has filed in a bid to force state regulators to give it licenses to run dispensaries.

“The grower dispensary group is staying together and we intend to pursue our possibilities,” Topping said. The company has yet to find a replacement for Delahunt, he said.

Delahunt did not return calls from the Globe Monday seeking comment. Topping said that Delahunt may work with an unidentified group that is attempting to develop rehabilitation centers in New England to combat opiate addiction.

In its lawsuit filed last month, Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts argued that state regulators broke their own rules and reacted unreasonably to negative publicity when they reversed themselves and rejected the company’s bid to open three dispensaries after initially granting approval in January.

State regulators notified the company in June that the firm was denied licenses because it did not comply with nonprofit regulations because it planned to divert excessive revenues to a management company. Regulators also said the company made incorrect representations on its application that suggested it had support from state Senate President Therese Murray.

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Delahunt issued a statement at the time saying he was “perplexed, because the corporate structure cited as the main reason for our denial is the same one that was in place when we were rated number one among applicants in the last round and received the department’s green light to proceed.”

Nearly half the 20 applicants given initial approval in January for medical marijuana dispensaries were eliminated in June after a second review. The controversial selection process was delayed for months after news organizations and losing applicants raised concerns about misrepresentations, financial agreements, and conflicts of interest involving several of the companies that won initial approval.

More coverage:

8/28: Delahunt sues of medical marijuana rejection

8/14: State halts two cannabis permits

8/9: Banks shy away from medical marijuana businesses

7/9: Editorial: Mass. must be more vigilant in vetting dispensaries

6/28: Mass. drops flawed marijuana applicants

3/24: Delahunt capitalizes on the private sector

2/26: Delahunt group would reap from licensing deal

2/25: Delahunt faces questions about dealings with marijuana firm


Shelley Murphy can be reached at shmurphy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shelleymurph.