Two Oklahoma lawyers have been charged with multiple counts of getting their lawful assistants lend their names to professional medical cannabis develop licenses, giving their out-of-condition consumers a way to get all-around residency demands by means of a exercise state officers referred to as “ghost proprietors.”
Attorney Standard John O’Connor introduced the fees Thursday, contacting it an instance of how major the condition is using illegal mature operations that are misusing Oklahoma’s authorized medical cannabis system.
“Over 400 cannabis grow (functions) in the point out of Oklahoma listed the Jones-Brown legislation company employees as the entrepreneurs,” reported O’Connor, referring to condition regulation that calls for marijuana improve functions to be owned by an Oklahoma resident.
Eric Brown and Logan Jones have been each individual billed with various counts of conspiracy, falsifying data, and cultivation of a perilous material.
Brown’s lawyer denied any wrongdoing and explained the two had been no for a longer period companions.
Brown’s “conduct and know-how of what went on is inconsistent with the mental point out or felony intent expected to violate the regulation,” claimed Ken Adair, who is representing Brown.
Jones did not answer to a message requesting comment.
Investigators with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics claimed they interviewed four employees of the Jones-Brown legislation business who admitted to staying employed to implement for professional medical marijuana expand licenses with the point out.
A single legal assistant informed investigators she was paid out $3,000 for each individual license she set her identify on, with at the very least $1,000 paid again to the legislation agency, and “was conference with clients so often this was the only style of function she was carrying out,” in accordance to affidavits filed in Garvin County court docket.
Other ‘ghost owner’ operations being investigated
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is investigating other attainable “ghost owner” functions.
“It practically took us 14 months on this one circumstance, there are some we have been doing the job on even for a longer time,” bureau Director Donnie Anderson explained.
Anderson mentioned the two lawyers who have been billed represented international individuals who were being expanding marijuana in Oklahoma and shipping and delivery it out of point out.
The bureau claimed it was capable to dedicate extra investigators to illegal marijuana functions in modern decades, which has led to other expenses, which includes a statewide raid this yr that led to multiple arrests and the seizure of 100,000 plants and 2,000 lbs . of processed marijuana.
Anderson explained the function of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is important to catching “ghost homeowners” simply because the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, the state company that oversees licensing, is typically unable to recognize a fraudulent license software.
“OMMA has caught some criticism above this but this is just not OMMA’s fault since when you inspect these anything (appears) in line,” Anderson reported about licenses that fraudulently use an Oklahoman’s title.
In November, the Oklahoma Health care Cannabis Authority, which is at the moment below the State Department of Well being, will become a standalone company, a go lawmakers imagine will assist it better implement licensing legislation.
“Earning OMMA a stand-by itself company is needed to deal with the complexity of regulation and compliance of the growing medical marijuana business,” stated Household Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma Metropolis, who co-authored the legislation producing OMMA impartial. “This will aid us lower down on the black marketplace that threatens the wellbeing of Oklahomans and adequately control the respectable businesses approved by voters.”
Considering the fact that voters approved health-related cannabis in 2018, a lot more than 400,000 affected individual and commercial licenses have been issued by the state.
This short article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma AG expenses two attorneys in ‘ghost owner’ marijuana scheme