My experience in the cannabis movement and industry has brought me together with some of the best people that I have met in my life. Most cannabis law reformers and industry participants, in my experience, tend to be very open-minded and cognizant of the need to act in the best interests of the movement at large. Of course, there are bad actors, just as there are bad actors in any movement or industry. Noelle Crombie, just published a very thorough story detailing an Oregon fraud investigation involving the Cannacea and Green Rush Consulting. I welcome stories such as these as it is imperative for the cannabis industry to expose those that aren’t honest and trustworthy.
As Crombie reported, a letter from an Oregon regulator declared that Cannacea’s Tisha Siler had won approval of her applications for multiple medical marijuana dispensary licenses; this letter was then used to attract investors:
Cannacea soon had a group of backers who were drawn to the state’s new recreational pot trade and the tantalizing prospect of sharing in a booming market expected to generate an estimated $181.2 million this year.
That vision of wealth unraveled. Relationships soured between Siler, a self-described herbalist and holistic counselor, and many of those she hoped would bankroll her operation. The venture spiraled into nasty accusations, multiple court claims against Siler and her dispensary and demands from investors that she return their money, according to court documents and the state’s investigative file on the case released to The Oregonian/OregonLive in response to a public records request.
No one disputes that the letter was fake. But no one admits to writing it and state investigators can’t pinpoint the author.
I do not know all of the facts of the case, but in my experience with Zeta Ceti, owner of Green Rush Consulting, he has been a standup guy who cares about doing what is best for the cannabis cause. The biggest issue in this case is the fact that a fake letter was produced that exaggerated the number of licenses awarded to Ms. Siler. I, like others, look forward for the state to conclude its investigation so all of the facts can be known; it will be great if a forensic analysis can uncover the true source of the fake letter.
Green Rush Consulting sent out a press release responding to The Oregonian’s article, and it is in full below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 11th 2016
Green Rush Consulting Response to Oregonian Article
(Oakland, CA) – Green Rush Consulting (GRC) was recently mentioned in a news article in Oregon that concerns Cannacea, a retail cannabis store that operated in Portland, Oregon. In 2014, Cannacea contracted GRC to compile some of the documents used to communicate her business vision and operations plans to investors. GRC has since learned that some of the documents that Cannacea’s founder provided to GRC were fraudulent.
Officials with Oregon’s Office of Consumer and Business Services have been investigating Tisha Siler, CEO of Cannacea, and GRC has been cooperating fully with this investigation since it began last year. GRC only learned that the documents were fraudulent when the Office of Consumer and Business Services opened its investigation and contacted GRC regarding its relationship with Siler and Cannacea.
This is an ongoing investigation in which Green Rush Consulting maintains it was also a victim of Ms. Siler’s fraud. However, GRC made a mistake in that it was not robust enough in conducting strong due diligence on both contractor and client. GRC has paid dearly for those failures of 2014, in which the company implemented changes within the organization to ensure that nothing like this happens again. When the investigation is complete, we are confident that our credibility and reputation will be intact.
GRC has implemented substantially more rigorous background checks and due diligence policies on its employees, contract consultants, clients, and business partners. We strongly encourage all companies and individuals in the cannabis industry to do the same. White-collar crime in this industry is a threat to all of us, and we need to perform due diligence in every aspect of our business operations in order to avoid it and help prevent it. It is at the core of our mission to operate with integrity and to protect others in this space from the hard lessons we have learned.
Green Rush Consulting stands by our services and the strong reputation we have built over the last 4 years in this industry. Since 2012, our company has helped clients win licenses for medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivation operations in eight states. Our team members have worked on licensing applications in 9 states – Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington – and we have never had an application disqualified. Our consultants have collectively participated in winning more than 30 state licenses nationwide.
While it is unfortunate that GRC was caught up in this fraudulent scheme, it gives us the opportunity to help raise awareness of fraud and white-collar crimes that do and could continue to infect this fast-paced, growing industry.
We want to thank the Oregonian for bringing this complex issue to light, as it is an important lesson for the entire cannabis industry. We sincerely hope that other companies and operators in the cannabis space will learn from this unfortunate situation that impacted GRC, and will do everything possible to protect themselves from individuals and organizations that could cause damage to their companies, brands, and the progression of the cannabis movement.
Green Rush Consulting LLC. Is located at 2700 International Blvd. Suite 25 in Oakland’s Fruitvale District. For more information call (510) 479-7327 or visit www.greenrushconsulting.com.