I take issue with your Aug. 8 editorial, “While cannabis is illegal, dispensaries will struggle,” which casually missed the obvious: The Department of Health and Human Services admitted to doing no background fact-checking as it gave away medical marijuana dispensary licenses for the state’s top four markets to a single applicant, Northeastern Patients Group (NPG).

There is plenty of reason to suspect that the applications and representations made to the state by NPG were materially misleading from the very start and rife with conflicts of interest.

NPG and CEO Rebecca DeKeuster were, in fact, backed by California-based Berkeley Patients Group, whose funding was used to pay for lobbying of DHHS under the pretense that it was a financially stable, not-for-profit entity — neither of which was true.

DHHS’s mea culpa is that background checks weren’t a part of their selection process.

If the state’s top medical regulatory agency isn’t checking out the people they are licensing for narcotics production and distribution, what protection do they offer the public? How did they make their decisions? And where were the tough questions that should have come from your newspaper to find out?

The issue here is a grossly negligent or incompetent state agency that is being unduly influenced by lobbyists to circumvent the intent of state laws. Now DHHS has delivered an out-of-state basketball player de facto control over a true Maine nonprofit to dispense narcotics, in violation of their own policy. That NPG and DeKeuster are embroiled in major lawsuits with backer BPG offers little consolation to those applicants who played by the rules and had expected a fair shake.

The governor should step in to clean up this mess, and your newspaper should get back to the facts. Shallow editorials are no substitute for investigative journalism.