Two Oklahoma attorneys have been charged with many counts of having their legal assistants lend their names to professional medical cannabis grow licenses, supplying their out-of-condition clientele a way to get close to residency demands via a apply point out officers identified as “ghost entrepreneurs.”
Attorney Basic John O’Connor introduced the prices Thursday, contacting it an illustration of how critical the state is having unlawful develop functions that are misusing Oklahoma’s legal health-related cannabis technique.
“Over 400 marijuana improve (operations) in the state of Oklahoma outlined the Jones-Brown law company workforce as the proprietors,” reported O’Connor, referring to condition law that calls for marijuana grow functions to be owned by an Oklahoma resident.
Eric Brown and Logan Jones had been every single charged with various counts of conspiracy, falsifying documents, and cultivation of a risky substance.
Brown’s legal professional denied any wrongdoing and stated the two were being no extended associates.
Brown’s “conduct and awareness of what went on is inconsistent with the psychological point out or prison intent necessary to violate the law,” stated Ken Adair, who is symbolizing Brown.
Jones did not respond to a information requesting remark.
Investigators with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics reported they interviewed four workers of the Jones-Brown regulation organization who admitted to getting utilized to utilize for professional medical cannabis improve licenses with the state.
A single lawful assistant advised investigators she was paid $3,000 for every single license she put her identify on, with at least $1,000 compensated again to the legislation company, and “was assembly with shoppers so often this was the only type of perform she was accomplishing,” in accordance to affidavits filed in Garvin County courtroom.
Other ‘ghost owner’ functions staying investigated
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is investigating other possible “ghost owner” functions.
“It practically took us 14 months on this one case, there are some we have been functioning on even for a longer time,” bureau Director Donnie Anderson mentioned.
Anderson stated the two lawyers who have been charged represented foreign individuals who were developing cannabis in Oklahoma and transport it out of point out.
The bureau mentioned it was in a position to devote far more investigators to unlawful cannabis functions in current many years, which has led to other charges, which include a statewide raid this calendar year that led to several arrests and the seizure of 100,000 vegetation and 2,000 lbs of processed marijuana.
Anderson explained the get the job done of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is significant to catching “ghost entrepreneurs” mainly because the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, the point out agency that oversees licensing, is usually unable to establish a fraudulent license application.
“OMMA has caught some criticism more than this but this isn’t OMMA’s fault for the reason that when you inspect these all the things (appears) in line,” Anderson mentioned about licenses that fraudulently use an Oklahoman’s title.
In November, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, which is at the moment underneath the Condition Division of Well being, will turn out to be a standalone agency, a shift lawmakers consider will help it better implement licensing legal guidelines.
“Earning OMMA a stand-by itself company is vital to deal with the complexity of regulation and compliance of the expanding health care marijuana marketplace,” reported Property Greater part Floor Chief Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma Metropolis, who co-authored the laws earning OMMA independent. “This will assist us lower down on the black market place that threatens the wellbeing of Oklahomans and appropriately control the reputable corporations authorized by voters.”
Given that voters authorised healthcare marijuana in 2018, additional than 400,000 affected person and industrial licenses have been issued by the point out.
This write-up at first appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma AG rates two legal professionals in ‘ghost owner’ cannabis plan