The nation's first-ever state certified medical marijuana training school has been suspended.
Greenway University in Denver offered courses covering everything from growing to selling medical marijuana. On Tuesday the Colorado Department of Higher Education ordered Greenway to stop teaching and to give students their money back.
The decision to suspend Greenway was made by the board for the Colorado Department of Higher Education Division of Private Occupational Schools. Thats the same group that granted approval for Greenway to offer courses and certifications in medical marijuana.
The Division of Private Occupational Schools is not an academic accrediting body in any way, shape or form, said Chad Marturano, spokeman for the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Greenway University went through the process just like any other occupational school where they submitted an application detailing what they were going to provide.
State Says Application Paperwork Had False Information
The deputy director of the CDHE told 7NEWS that the application to operate Greenway University led to the schools suspension to operate. The application was an affirmed/sworn public record signed and submitted by the owner and chief executive officer of Greenway, Gus Escamilla.
7NEWS obtained a copy of the application and signed affidavit.
The application asked, Has any principal owner(s), officer(s), or any person in a management capacity: Ever been convicted of or pled to a felony or are charges pending?
Escamilla answered, No.
"You checked 'No' in the box when in fact you should have checked 'yes' instead? 7NEWS asked Escamilla.
That's a true statement, responded Escamilla.
7NEWS obtained court documents from California, where in 2000, Escamilla pleaded guilty to felony grand theft by embezzlement.
We were aware of the prior conviction, but we also were under the impression that they were expunged," said Escamilla.
That wasn't the only discrepancy. According to the CDHE, Marc Kent was listed as a chancellor at Greenway, but the application did not disclose the fact that Kent pleaded guilty to mail fraud in federal court.
I take full responsibility. Its my job. I shouldve double-, triple-, quadruple-checked and I defer no judgment. I defer absolutely no responsibility to anyone other than myself to have known, said Escamilla.
Future of School Uncertain
What does this do for Greenway Universitys credibility? 7NEWS asked Escamilla.
You know, I would only hope that our good will and all the students that have gone through could share the great experiences theyve had and that can stand on its own, Escamilla responded.
The school plans on appealing to the state to re-open.
Whatever the boards decision is we respect and well continue to honor any and all decisions they make, said Escamilla.
For now, classes at Greenway are not in session. Its a lesson Escamilla learned the hard way.
My responsibility as a leader is I have to take responsibility, and Im willing to do that, said Escamilla.
Recourse For Greenway Students
On Tuesday Greenway University was served a Notice of School Suspension to Operate. The notice includes this message for students: Caution: There currently is no individual authorized by the state of Colorado to recruit students for or to continue training on behalf of this school.
Students currently enrolled during the suspension along with those who pre-paid money to Greenway for training that has not started are instructed to call the CDHE Division of Private Occupational Schools at: (303) 866-2723
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