Michigan businessman gets prison in sordid cannabis bribery case

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A Michigan businessman has been sentenced to 28 months in federal prison for bribing a former head of the state’s now-defunct Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB).

John Dalaly bribed Rick Johnson, former chair of the MMLB, with cash and favors including flights to Canada, the Associated Press reported.

Johnson also received “thousands of dollars’ worth of commercial sex with a woman in the adult entertainment industry,” according to a court filing quoted by the Detroit Free Press.

“In return, Johnson provided an unfair advantage to bribe payers in the form of his favorable vote on license applications, his help and support throughout the licensing process, and confidential inside information pertaining to the Board’s work and other applicants,” according to the memo.

Johnson, also a former Republican speaker of the Michigan House, pleaded guilty in April.

He is still awaiting sentencing, with a sentencing hearing scheduled for Sept. 28.

Two lobbyists have also pleaded guilty to charges in the case.

“John (Dalaly) is proof that good men can make bad decisions,” defense attorney Ray Cassar said in a court filing quoted by AP.

According to the Free Press, Cassar told reporters that “Mr. Dalaly had nothing to do with having a sex worker involved with Mr. Johnson.”

A sentencing memo said the woman was paid by one of the lobbyists.

Michigan’s governor abolished the MMLB in 2019 and replaced it with the Marijuana Regulatory Agency.