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The CEO of the company behind one of Vermont’s five licensed medical marijuana dispensaries has resigned following allegations that he used the company’s resources for personal benefit.

Hadley Ford, CEO of iAnthus Capital, immediately submitted his resignation after a special investigation uncovered $160,000 in personal loans from a managing member of one of the company’s lenders, iAnthus announced on Monday.

iAnthus Capital owns, finances and/or partners with 30 dispensaries in 11 states, and is the major financier behind Grassroots Vermont, a medical marijuana dispensary in Brandon. Hadley Ford’s sister, Alexandra, founded Grassroots Vermont in 2013.

First reported by Marijuana Business Daily, Ford resigned after two previously undisclosed personal loans were discovered. The loans, for $100,000 and $60,000 respectively, were issued by a managing member of Gotham Green Partners, a private equity firm that issued iAnthus millions in convertible notes in 2019.

iAnthus appointed a special committee to investigate the personal loans. The company concluded that this “potential or apparent” conflict of interest had no bearing on their financial relationship with Gotham Green, but Ford’s failure to disclose the loans constituted a breach of company policy.

Out-of-state players in Vermont marijuana

Three of Vermont’s five medical marijuana dispensaries are funded by high-profile, out-of-state investors, the Burlington Free Press reported in January. In addition to Grassroots Vermont, Vermont Patients Alliance in Montpelier and Phytocare Vermont in Bennington are backed by Chicago-based investor Grassroots Cannabis.

More: How Big Marijuana might subvert Vermont’s homespun pot industry

Curaleaf, based in Wakefield, Massachusetts, and one of the biggest marijuana companies in the world, plans to acquire Grassroots Cannabis this spring, adding another degree of separation between the local marijuana industry and the money behind it.

Ford’s Grassroots Vermont has been actively involved in state governmental affairs. Alexandra Ford pressed state legislators in 2016 to reject a proposed residency requirement for license-holders, which was eventually shot down. Grassroots Vermont paid Montpelier lobbyists over $30,000 in 2019, Vermontijuana reported

Other marijuana companies and organizations representing them have recently spent substantial money lobbying the government. Marijuana Policy Project, one of the largest and oldest advocacy groups in the country, spent over $67,000 between February 2019 and April 2020 on lobbying. The Vermont Cannabis Trades Association, whose website lists the Stockbridge hemp farm Luce Farm Wellness as its only member, spent over $17,000 in that time frame.

After Hadley Ford’s resignation, iAnthus appointed Randy Maslow, the company’s co-founder, interim CEO.

Grassroots Vermont and iAnthus Capital did not immediately respond to requests for comment. This story will be updated.

Free Press staff writer Joel Baird contributed to this report.

Email Isaac Fornarola at ifornarola@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @isaacforn

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