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Consultant Pleads Guilty to Role in Native American Cannabis Resort Scheme

One of the two consultants charged for their role in a Native American tribe plan to open a marijuana resort pleaded guilty this week to one count of conspiracy to possess cannabis, the Associated Press reports.

Jonathan Hunt, vice-president and cultivation expert for Monarch America, entered the plea as part of a deal with law enforcement. The class 6 felony is punishable by up to two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.

Eric Hagen, CEO of the Colorado-based firm, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to possess, possession, and attempt to possess 10 pounds of cannabis or more.

“I am yet unaware of any evidence that my client possessed even a gram of marijuana,” Mike Butler, Hagen’s attorney, said in the report. “The marijuana belonged to the Santee Sioux Tribe. They paid for it. They had legal ownership of it at all times.”

The charges stem from the duo’s role as consultants to the tribe, who planned “an adult playground” on tribal land in South Dakota. The tribe abandoned the plan eight months ago after South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley warned that changes to tribal law permits regarding cannabis would not apply to non-tribe members.

Hunt is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 19, but the date could be changed depending on Hagen’s case.

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