Two Oklahoma lawyers have been billed with several counts of getting their legal assistants lend their names to professional medical cannabis develop licenses, giving their out-of-condition clientele a way to get all over residency prerequisites by means of a practice condition officials known as “ghost homeowners.”
Attorney Normal John O’Connor declared the expenses Thursday, calling it an example of how really serious the condition is getting illegal grow functions that are misusing Oklahoma’s legal professional medical marijuana technique.
“Over 400 cannabis improve (functions) in the point out of Oklahoma listed the Jones-Brown law business personnel as the homeowners,” reported O’Connor, referring to point out law that needs cannabis develop functions to be owned by an Oklahoma resident.
Eric Brown and Logan Jones have been every billed with multiple counts of conspiracy, falsifying records, and cultivation of a unsafe material.
Brown’s lawyer denied any wrongdoing and reported the two were being no for a longer period associates.
Brown’s “conduct and information of what went on is inconsistent with the psychological state or criminal intent expected to violate the legislation,” mentioned 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 four staff members of the Jones-Brown regulation organization who admitted to being applied to apply for professional medical marijuana improve licenses with the condition.
A person legal assistant advised investigators she was paid out $3,000 for each license she place her identify on, with at the very least $1,000 compensated back again to the regulation business, and “was conference with customers so usually this was the only type of do the job she was doing,” according to affidavits filed in Garvin County court.
Other ‘ghost owner’ functions currently being investigated
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is investigating other achievable “ghost owner” functions.
“It actually took us 14 months on this one particular scenario, there are some we have been working on even for a longer time,” bureau Director Donnie Anderson stated.
Anderson explained the two lawyers who have been billed represented international men and women who have been increasing cannabis in Oklahoma and delivery it out of point out.
The bureau reported it was equipped to dedicate much more investigators to unlawful marijuana operations in latest years, which has led to other expenses, like a statewide raid this year that led to a number of arrests and the seizure of 100,000 plants and 2,000 kilos of processed cannabis.
Anderson reported the perform of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is important to catching “ghost homeowners” for the reason that the Oklahoma Health care Cannabis Authority, the point out company that oversees licensing, is generally not able to establish a fraudulent license software.
“OMMA has caught some criticism around this but this is not OMMA’s fault since when you inspect these everything (seems) in line,” Anderson reported about licenses that fraudulently use an Oklahoman’s identify.
In November, the Oklahoma Clinical Cannabis Authority, which is at this time less than the State Section of Health, will turn out to be a standalone agency, a move lawmakers believe that will support it superior implement licensing legislation.
“Producing OMMA a stand-on your own company is required to deal with the complexity of regulation and compliance of the growing health-related cannabis market,” mentioned Residence Vast majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma Metropolis, who co-authored the laws producing OMMA impartial. “This will assistance us minimize down on the black industry that threatens the wellbeing of Oklahomans and effectively regulate the legitimate firms accepted by voters.”
Given that voters permitted professional medical marijuana in 2018, more than 400,000 affected individual and commercial licenses have been issued by the condition.
This write-up initially appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma AG fees two lawyers in ‘ghost owner’ marijuana scheme