Two Oklahoma attorneys have been billed with a number of counts of getting their legal assistants lend their names to clinical cannabis grow licenses, giving their out-of-condition customers a way to get around residency prerequisites via a exercise condition officials known as “ghost entrepreneurs.”
Legal professional Basic John O’Connor declared the rates Thursday, calling it an illustration of how significant the state is using unlawful grow functions that are misusing Oklahoma’s lawful health-related cannabis procedure.
“Over 400 cannabis grow (operations) in the state of Oklahoma outlined the Jones-Brown regulation firm workers as the homeowners,” claimed O’Connor, referring to point out legislation that necessitates cannabis grow functions to be owned by an Oklahoma resident.
Eric Brown and Logan Jones have been every single billed with a number of counts of conspiracy, falsifying data, and cultivation of a hazardous material.
Brown’s lawyer denied any wrongdoing and claimed the two ended up no for a longer period partners.
Brown’s “conduct and know-how of what went on is inconsistent with the psychological condition or criminal intent expected to violate the regulation,” mentioned Ken Adair, who is representing Brown.
Jones did not reply to a concept requesting remark.
Investigators with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics reported they interviewed four workforce of the Jones-Brown regulation organization who admitted to becoming utilised to utilize for professional medical marijuana mature licenses with the condition.
A person legal assistant advised investigators she was paid $3,000 for every single license she place her title on, with at the very least $1,000 compensated again to the law agency, and “was assembly with consumers so usually this was the only variety of operate she was undertaking,” in accordance to affidavits submitted in Garvin County court.
Other ‘ghost owner’ operations getting investigated
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is investigating other feasible “ghost owner” operations.
“It basically took us 14 months on this a single scenario, there are some we have been doing work on even extended,” bureau Director Donnie Anderson reported.
Anderson claimed the two legal professionals who have been charged represented foreign men and women who were being growing marijuana in Oklahoma and shipping it out of state.
The bureau reported it was capable to devote more investigators to illegal marijuana functions in current a long time, which has led to other fees, which includes a statewide raid this calendar year that led to many arrests and the seizure of 100,000 vegetation and 2,000 pounds of processed marijuana.
Anderson said the perform of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is essential to catching “ghost homeowners” for the reason that the Oklahoma Health care Marijuana Authority, the state company that oversees licensing, is often unable to identify a fraudulent license application.
“OMMA has caught some criticism more than this but this isn’t really OMMA’s fault due to the fact when you inspect these almost everything (seems) in line,” Anderson stated about licenses that fraudulently use an Oklahoman’s name.
In November, the Oklahoma Medical Cannabis Authority, which is currently less than the State Section of Health and fitness, will become a standalone company, a transfer lawmakers imagine will assistance it much better implement licensing rules.
“Earning OMMA a stand-by yourself agency is necessary to offer with the complexity of regulation and compliance of the expanding healthcare marijuana market,” stated Property Greater part Flooring Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, who co-authored the laws generating OMMA independent. “This will assist us cut down on the black sector that threatens the wellbeing of Oklahomans and thoroughly regulate the genuine firms accepted by voters.”
Considering the fact that voters approved professional medical marijuana in 2018, extra than 400,000 affected person and business licenses have been issued by the condition.
This post originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma AG costs two attorneys in ‘ghost owner’ marijuana scheme