Oklahoma attorney general charges two lawyers in ‘ghost owner’ medical marijuana operation

ByLois C

Jun 19, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Two Oklahoma attorneys have been billed with multiple counts of possessing their authorized assistants lend their names to medical cannabis improve licenses, giving their out-of-condition consumers a way to get all over residency necessities through a apply condition officials named “ghost house owners.”

Lawyer Standard John O’Connor introduced the fees Thursday, calling it an case in point of how significant the point out is using illegal expand operations that are misusing Oklahoma’s legal clinical cannabis technique.

“Over 400 marijuana grow (functions) in the condition of Oklahoma mentioned the Jones-Brown regulation organization workers as the proprietors,” said O’Connor, referring to point out regulation that needs marijuana expand functions to be owned by an Oklahoma resident.

Far more: How rural Oklahomans and cannabis could make your mind up legal professional general’s race

Eric Brown and Logan Jones had been just about every billed with a number of counts of conspiracy, falsifying data, and cultivation of a hazardous compound.

Brown’s legal professional denied any wrongdoing and reported the two were being no extended companions.

Brown’s “conduct and expertise of what went on is inconsistent with the mental condition or felony intent essential to violate the legislation,” stated Ken Adair, who is representing Brown.

Jones did not answer to a message requesting remark.

Investigators with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics explained they interviewed 4 workers of the Jones-Brown law organization who admitted to getting used to implement for professional medical cannabis increase licenses with the condition.

A single lawful assistant informed investigators she was paid $3,000 for each license she put her name on, with at minimum $1,000 compensated back to the law agency, and “was meeting with consumers so usually this was the only form of work she was doing,” according to affidavits filed in Garvin County courtroom.

Other ‘ghost owner’ operations remaining investigated

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is investigating other doable “ghost owner” operations.

“It actually took us 14 months on this one situation, there are some we have been operating on even lengthier,” bureau Director Donnie Anderson said.

Anderson said the two lawyers who have been charged represented foreign people today who have been growing cannabis in Oklahoma and transport it out of point out.

The bureau said it was equipped to commit additional investigators to unlawful cannabis operations in latest a long time, which has led to other rates, like a statewide raid this yr that led to various arrests and the seizure of 100,000 vegetation and 2,000 pounds of processed marijuana.

Anderson explained the perform of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is essential to catching “ghost homeowners” because the Oklahoma Clinical Cannabis Authority, the state agency that oversees licensing, is typically not able to discover a fraudulent license software.

“OMMA has caught some criticism about this but this is just not OMMA’s fault mainly because when you examine these anything (appears) in line,” Anderson stated about licenses that fraudulently use an Oklahoman’s identify.

In November, the Oklahoma Health care Cannabis Authority, which is now under the State Department of Health, will develop into a standalone company, a go lawmakers imagine will support it improved implement licensing regulations.

“Building OMMA a stand-by itself agency is vital to deal with the complexity of regulation and compliance of the increasing healthcare cannabis market,” claimed House The vast majority Floor Chief Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma Town, who co-authored the laws producing OMMA unbiased. “This will assistance us slice down on the black sector that threatens the wellbeing of Oklahomans and properly regulate the authentic firms approved by voters.”

Due to the fact voters approved clinical marijuana in 2018, a lot more than 400,000 affected individual and commercial licenses have been issued by the point out.

This article at first appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma AG rates two legal professionals in ‘ghost owner’ marijuana plan

By Lois C