Two Oklahoma lawyers have been billed with numerous counts of acquiring their lawful assistants lend their names to professional medical cannabis increase licenses, supplying their out-of-state clients a way to get all around residency requirements via a exercise state officials referred to as “ghost owners.”
Lawyer Common John O’Connor announced the charges Thursday, contacting it an example of how severe the condition is getting unlawful improve functions that are misusing Oklahoma’s lawful medical cannabis technique.
“Over 400 marijuana increase (operations) in the condition of Oklahoma stated the Jones-Brown legislation agency staff as the proprietors,” said O’Connor, referring to point out regulation that involves marijuana grow functions to be owned by an Oklahoma resident.
Eric Brown and Logan Jones ended up every charged with numerous counts of conspiracy, falsifying documents, and cultivation of a unsafe substance.
Brown’s lawyer denied any wrongdoing and reported the two have been no for a longer time partners.
Brown’s “conduct and knowledge of what went on is inconsistent with the psychological state or prison intent essential to violate the regulation,” mentioned Ken Adair, who is representing Brown.
Jones did not answer to a message requesting comment.
Investigators with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics reported they interviewed four workforce of the Jones-Brown legislation company who admitted to getting utilised to use for clinical marijuana mature licenses with the point out.
Just one legal assistant told investigators she was paid $3,000 for every single license she place her name on, with at least $1,000 compensated back to the legislation company, and “was conference with clients so usually this was the only form of do the job she was accomplishing,” according to affidavits submitted in Garvin County courtroom.
Other ‘ghost owner’ functions remaining investigated
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is investigating other doable “ghost owner” functions.
“It pretty much took us 14 months on this a single situation, there are some we have been doing the job on even for a longer period,” bureau Director Donnie Anderson reported.
Anderson said the two attorneys who have been charged represented foreign people today who have been increasing marijuana in Oklahoma and shipping and delivery it out of point out.
The bureau mentioned it was capable to dedicate far more investigators to illegal marijuana operations in latest years, which has led to other expenses, which include a statewide raid this year that led to many arrests and the seizure of 100,000 vegetation and 2,000 lbs . of processed cannabis.
Anderson claimed the operate of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is essential to catching “ghost house owners” since the Oklahoma Medical Cannabis Authority, the state agency that oversees licensing, is normally unable to identify a fraudulent license software.
“OMMA has caught some criticism in excess of this but this is just not OMMA’s fault because when you inspect these all the things (appears) in line,” Anderson explained about licenses that fraudulently use an Oklahoman’s name.
In November, the Oklahoma Health care Marijuana Authority, which is presently less than the Condition Section of Wellbeing, will become a standalone agency, a move lawmakers believe will enable it greater implement licensing laws.
“Creating OMMA a stand-by yourself agency is necessary to deal with the complexity of regulation and compliance of the increasing professional medical marijuana market,” said House Vast majority Floor Chief Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma Town, who co-authored the legislation generating OMMA unbiased. “This will assist us slash down on the black sector that threatens the wellbeing of Oklahomans and adequately control the reputable firms authorised by voters.”
Considering that voters authorized health-related cannabis in 2018, far more than 400,000 patient and industrial licenses have been issued by the state.
This post initially appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma AG fees two attorneys in ‘ghost owner’ cannabis scheme