Marijuana smuggling charges to be dropped against ex-Vireo employees

Felony charges will be dropped against two former Vireo Health executives accused of smuggling medical marijuana across state lines after they perform 80 hours of community service and serve a one-year probation.

The closely watched case led to court rulings and reform in Minnesota that establishes the activity as a criminal act, putting MMJ operators on notice.

The deal with prosecutors, reported by The Journal News in New York, ends a nearly 4-year-old criminal case that involved the alleged illegal transportation of $500,000 of cannabis oil between Vireo facilities in Minnesota and New York using a company armored vehicle.

Assistant County Attorney Shane Simonds, the lead prosecutor, acknowledged to the newspaper that the resolution was lenient in the case against Laura Bultman, a former chief medical officer of Vireo Health, and Ronald Owens, a former chief security officer.

But Simonds said that was because the defendants didn’t have criminal records.

Also, it was the first time Minnesota had dealt with the issue of medical marijuana products being transported across state lines.

Vireo, which operates in Minnesota as Minnesota Medical Solutions, wasn’t charged in the case.

Medical marijuana companies in the state now can be fined $250,000 if caught transporting product across state lines, Simonds told the newspaper.

Furthermore, Minnesota courts agreed with prosecutors that the activity is illegal.

“The companies are on notice that this is a criminal act,” Simonds said. “I felt that was a sufficient way of deterring future conduct.”

Vireo trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker symbol VREO and on the U.S. over-the-counter markets as VREOF.

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