Bribery and corruption in the cannabis industry is the norm rather than the rarity. While some cases are publicized, a majority are not. This can be very catastrophic for an industry that should be based on equity and inclusivity and is struggling to get off the ground.
Is this what is called greed in weed?
Rick Johnson who served as the head of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board from 2017 to 2019 has agreed to plead guilty to corruption charges leveled against him while in office. Mr. Johnson has been accused of receiving bribes amounting to $ 110,200 from cannabis businesses to help them get licenses in the state. He has been accused alongside three others, all who have accepted to plead guilty to the charges.
During the period in which Mr. Johnson served as head of the marijuana board, he received $110,200 in cash and benefits from two companies and in return he helped them to secure licenses. John Dalaly offered Mr. Johnson $68,000 in cash and an additional two private flights to Canada, this is according to documents filed in court.
Mr. Johnson has previously served in the state legislature and was House speaker for a period of four years ending in 2005. He later became a lobbyist and was later appointed as the chairman of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board, a position he held until the spring of 2019. This board was abolished after his term and oversight of the industry was transferred to a state agency.
U.S attorney Mark Totten announced the charges at a recent press conference in Lansing. “Public corruption is a poison to any democracy,” Mr. Totten said.
Johnson and the others, through their attorneys, have all filed agreements to plead guilty in the Grand Rapids federal court. Since they are all cooperating with the investigations, the judges might be lenient in their sentencing.
Did you say $110, 200 only?
The fact that Mr. Johnson has quickly agreed to confess to the $110,200 has many believing that the true figure could as well be in the millions of $$$. For his presumed worth, $100,000 is all but a cheap date.
But we don’t know for sure.