Joe Gratz

Minnesota Judge Orders Smuggling Case Involving Ex-Vireo Employees to Continue

A Minnesota judge has denied the motion to throw out charges against two former Vireo Health officers accused of illegally transporting $500,000 in cannabis products from Minnesota to New York while trying to meet a January 2016 deadline under New York’s medical cannabis program, according to a report from the Journal News.

Dr. Laura Bultman, former chief medical officer for Vireo, and Ronald Owens, the former security officer, are accused of using the company’s armored car to transport the products – in violation of federal and state laws.

Judge Kathleen Mottl ruled that the alleged smuggling scheme is not protected under Minnesota state law or federal corporate laws. Mottl concluded that the duo acted alone and that no current Vireo Health officials are implicated in the case. Health officials in New York are conducting an independent investigation.

Andrew Mangini, a spokesman for Vireo Health, said Mottl’s decision was “a reminder that neither Vireo Health nor any of its affiliates are a party” to the actions of the accused former employees.

“This ruling follows closely on the recent news that the licenses for both Vireo Health of New York and Minnesota Medical Solutions were renewed by state regulators,” he said in the report. “As always, we will continue to remain laser-focused on serving patients suffering from serious conditions like chronic pain, cancer, ALS and HIV/AIDS.”

Both Bultman and Owens have pleaded not guilty.

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