Trulieve reiterates support of marijuana CEO amid husband’s conviction

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Marijuana multistate operator Trulieve Cannabis distanced itself from the conviction of CEO Kim Rivers’ husband on five public corruption charges connected to his real estate development business.

“We have consistently maintained that neither Trulieve nor our CEO are involved in the case,” Trulieve said in a Twitter post in response to J.T. Burnette’s conviction on Friday.

The statement also noted that Florida-based Trulieve’s board of directors “continues its strong support” of Rivers and her strategic vision for the company.

Rivers added in a personal tweet that she had “never been more confident in the future of Trulieve nor more proud of what we have built over the past five years. I look forward to the future and am grateful for your support. Onward!”

After a lengthy trial, Burnette was convicted on five of nine charges, including extortion and mail fraud, as part of a larger public corruption investigation.

Burnette was accused of giving or arranging a total of $140,000 in bribes between 2014 and 2017 to a then-Tallahassee city commissioner to advance Burnette’s real estate redevelopment interests in the city, according to local media reports.

Testimony came up at the trial that Burnette boasted to undercover FBI agents that he worked with a then-state legislator and friend in 2014 to tweak medical cannabis licensing criteria that would prevent certain competitors from winning permits.

But Trulieve, which won one of the initial MMJ licenses in Florida, hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing.

Trulieve has become the dominant operator in Florida’s medical marijuana market with 87 dispensaries and half the smokable-flower sales in the state.

The company, one of the few profitable marijuana companies in the United States, is in the process of acquiring Arizona-based Harvest Health & Recreation in an all-stock deal initially valued at $2.1 billion.