Two Oklahoma legal professionals have been charged with various counts of having their authorized assistants lend their names to healthcare marijuana improve licenses, providing their out-of-state clientele a way to get close to residency demands by means of a exercise condition officials identified as “ghost house owners.”
Legal professional Basic John O’Connor announced the costs Thursday, calling it an illustration of how critical the point out is having illegal expand functions that are misusing Oklahoma’s legal healthcare cannabis procedure.
“Over 400 marijuana grow (functions) in the state of Oklahoma mentioned the Jones-Brown law firm workforce as the house owners,” mentioned O’Connor, referring to state regulation that needs marijuana improve operations to be owned by an Oklahoma resident.
Eric Brown and Logan Jones were each individual billed with several counts of conspiracy, falsifying documents, and cultivation of a hazardous compound.
Brown’s lawyer denied any wrongdoing and said the two have been no extended partners.
Brown’s “conduct and knowledge of what went on is inconsistent with the psychological point out or felony intent needed to violate the legislation,” explained Ken Adair, who is symbolizing Brown.
Jones did not respond to a information requesting remark.
Investigators with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics claimed they interviewed 4 workforce of the Jones-Brown legislation company who admitted to being utilized to utilize for health care cannabis mature licenses with the condition.
One particular lawful assistant informed investigators she was paid out $3,000 for each and every license she set her title on, with at the very least $1,000 paid out back to the regulation firm, and “was conference with consumers so commonly this was the only type of get the job done she was executing,” according to affidavits submitted in Garvin County courtroom.
Other ‘ghost owner’ functions currently being investigated
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is investigating other probable “ghost owner” operations.
“It literally took us 14 months on this a single situation, there are some we have been functioning on even extended,” bureau Director Donnie Anderson stated.
Anderson explained the two legal professionals who have been charged represented international persons who ended up expanding cannabis in Oklahoma and delivery it out of condition.
The bureau reported it was able to commit extra investigators to unlawful cannabis operations in current a long time, which has led to other fees, which include a statewide raid this year that led to a number of arrests and the seizure of 100,000 plants and 2,000 lbs . of processed marijuana.
Anderson mentioned the do the job of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is significant to catching “ghost owners” since the Oklahoma Professional medical Cannabis Authority, the state company that oversees licensing, is normally unable to recognize a fraudulent license software.
“OMMA has caught some criticism around this but this is not OMMA’s fault simply because when you inspect these everything (appears) in line,” Anderson claimed about licenses that fraudulently use an Oklahoman’s name.
In November, the Oklahoma Professional medical Marijuana Authority, which is currently below the State Section of Health, will become a standalone agency, a transfer lawmakers feel will support it far better implement licensing legal guidelines.
“Building OMMA a stand-by yourself company is vital to offer with the complexity of regulation and compliance of the expanding health-related cannabis field,” reported Household The greater part Ground Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma Metropolis, who co-authored the legislation producing OMMA impartial. “This will help us slice down on the black market place that threatens the wellbeing of Oklahomans and adequately control the genuine businesses authorized by voters.”
Considering that voters permitted medical marijuana in 2018, much more than 400,000 affected individual and commercial licenses have been issued by the condition.
This short article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma AG expenses two attorneys in ‘ghost owner’ cannabis plan