Two Oklahoma lawyers have been billed with numerous counts of acquiring their authorized assistants lend their names to clinical cannabis expand licenses, offering their out-of-point out consumers a way to get close to residency requirements by means of a observe state officials identified as “ghost homeowners.”
Attorney Typical John O’Connor introduced the rates Thursday, contacting it an illustration of how really serious the point out is getting unlawful develop operations that are misusing Oklahoma’s authorized health care cannabis procedure.
“Over 400 marijuana improve (functions) in the state of Oklahoma outlined the Jones-Brown law business staff members as the proprietors,” reported O’Connor, referring to state regulation that involves cannabis develop functions to be owned by an Oklahoma resident.
Eric Brown and Logan Jones ended up every single charged with numerous counts of conspiracy, falsifying records, and cultivation of a hazardous material.
Brown’s attorney denied any wrongdoing and said the two ended up no for a longer time associates.
Brown’s “conduct and information of what went on is inconsistent with the mental point out or criminal intent necessary to violate the legislation,” said Ken Adair, who is representing Brown.
Jones did not answer to a message requesting remark.
Investigators with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics reported they interviewed four employees of the Jones-Brown legislation agency who admitted to currently being utilized to use for clinical marijuana mature licenses with the point out.
A person legal assistant told investigators she was paid $3,000 for each individual license she set her title on, with at least $1,000 paid back to the regulation agency, and “was assembly with clientele so often this was the only type of perform she was executing,” in accordance to affidavits filed in Garvin County court.
Other ‘ghost owner’ operations staying investigated
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is investigating other attainable “ghost owner” operations.
“It basically took us 14 months on this a person scenario, there are some we have been performing on even longer,” bureau Director Donnie Anderson mentioned.
Anderson stated the two attorneys who have been charged represented overseas people who had been expanding marijuana in Oklahoma and delivery it out of condition.
The bureau said it was ready to dedicate more investigators to illegal marijuana operations in modern years, which has led to other fees, such as a statewide raid this 12 months that led to numerous arrests and the seizure of 100,000 plants and 2,000 lbs . of processed cannabis.
Anderson said the get the job done of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is essential to catching “ghost entrepreneurs” simply because the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, the state company that oversees licensing, is generally unable to recognize a fraudulent license application.
“OMMA has caught some criticism more than this but this isn’t OMMA’s fault mainly because when you examine these all the things (seems) in line,” Anderson said about licenses that fraudulently use an Oklahoman’s name.
In November, the Oklahoma Health care Marijuana Authority, which is at present under the Point out Office of Overall health, will develop into a standalone company, a transfer lawmakers believe will enable it greater enforce licensing guidelines.
“Building OMMA a stand-by itself agency is essential to offer with the complexity of regulation and compliance of the expanding health care marijuana business,” claimed Dwelling Vast majority Flooring Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma Town, who co-authored the laws making OMMA independent. “This will assistance us slash down on the black current market that threatens the wellbeing of Oklahomans and thoroughly control the genuine organizations permitted by voters.”
Since voters accredited clinical cannabis in 2018, more than 400,000 affected individual and industrial licenses have been issued by the state.
This post originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma AG fees two legal professionals in ‘ghost owner’ cannabis scheme