NEWS BRIEF

Oklahoma cracking down on lawbreaking marijuana companies

Oklahoma law enforcement officials are conducting a wide-ranging investigation into legal medical marijuana businesses they say might also be involved in illicit street sales.

One such company in the town of Guthrie was raided recently, Oklahoma City TV station KOKH reported, and the state Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) seized “dump trucks full of marijuana plants.”

The OBN also took into custody 11 people who didn’t speak English, the TV station reported, though no arrests were made in connection with the raid.

The cultivation facility that was raided had 20 operational greenhouses, according to the OBN.

Even though the business is a legally licensed medical marijuana company, an OBN spokesman said the agency has information that the operation was selling cannabis on the underground market.

The OBN said the company’s records were fraudulent and that they were not properly reporting any sales.

“This is a group that is a criminal organization that’s moving large amounts of marijuana onto the streets and moving a lot of money all over the country,” an OBN spokesman told KHOH.

The state’s MMJ track and trace system is not yet operational, which is a hurdle for regulators trying to ensure that all licensees are running their companies legally. The system is scheduled to launch Friday.

To date, there are 7,396 licensed growers and 2,214 licensed dispensaries in Oklahoma.

The OBN spokesman also acknowledged that the Oklahoma MMJ program is likely tempting to bad actors, given the low barriers to entry and the ease with which many can grow unlimited quantities of cannabis and then ship the MJ across state lines.

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