Attorneys with a law firm that has offices in Tulsa have been charged after a year-plus long investigation into a medical marijuana business license fraud conspiracy.
A multicounty grand jury indicted two Oklahoma attorneys nearly a year after former secretary of the Jones Brown law firm alleged in a lawsuit that her former employers effectively made her a “ghost owner.”
The charges in Garvin County District Court announced Thursday by Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor align with allegations that Jones Brown law firm offered an illegal service to clients. The service: Oklahoma residents “stand-in as a lawful Oklahoma resident to meet the residency requirement for any applicant who cannot meet the 75% residency requirement” written into State Question 788, through which voters legalized medical marijuana in Oklahoma.
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About 400 marijuana grows in Oklahoma listed employees of Jones Brown law firm as 75% owners, the investigation found.
The documents — described as a “consultancy agreement,” “resident agreement” or “third-party resident agreement” — state the client would pay $3,000 per license per year for the law firm to provide a consultant to serve as an Oklahoma resident.
Attorney Logan Jones responded when the “ghost owner” investigation began: “Our participation in the Oklahoma medical cannabis industry embodies our full commitment to transparent business licensing and compliant business operations for all licensed entities to ensure that this now-billion-dollar industry operates in a safe and legal manner,” Jones said via email July 27, 2021.
Jones and law firm partner Eric Brown are each charged with one count of conspiracy to cultivate a controlled dangerous substance, six counts of offering false or forged instruments for recordation, three counts of cultivation of a controlled dangerous substance and one count of pattern of criminal offenses.
During the investigation initiated by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, agents searched Dao K 88 LLC in Garvin County, Evergreen Cannabis LLC in Major County and Tianz LLC in Mayes County; 20,218 marijuana plants were seized during the three search warrants.
OBN Director Donnie Anderson said Thursday the conspiracy investigation started about 14 months ago.
“It’s really easy to set up and abide by our statue, but we still have people who thumb their nose at it,” he said of those who set up shop in Oklahoma’s cannabis industry to “exploit” those laws.
This story is developing. Check tulsaworld.com for updates.
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10 things that are still illegal under Oklahoma’s medical marijuana laws
Can’t get a prescription for marijuana
Can’t use marijuana in the workplace or be impaired on the job
Can’t transport marijuana across state lines
Can’t get a doctor’s recommendation inside a dispensary
Can’t try the product while shopping
Can’t smoke marijuana where tobacco also prohibited