Oklahoma AG to Prosecute Attorney Accused of ‘Ghost Owner’ Medical Cannabis Scheme

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office is taking over the prosecution of an attorney accused of helping nearly 400 illegal cannabis cultivation businesses via a so-called “ghost owner” scheme.

Full story after the jump.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office is taking over the prosecution of the attorney accused of helping set up illegal cannabis businesses under the state’s medical cannabis program, KFOR reports. Matt Stacy is facing 13 charges related to the scheme in which he is accused of assisting nearly 400 illegal grow operations as so-called “ghost owner.”  

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond told KFOR that Stacy’s role was not just “enabling” but that the attorney is “culpable of the crimes that were committed by his clients.”  

“He was in a position of authority and power and influence. And those are the people that we need to make an example of perfect. … His impact on the state of Oklahoma is remarkable. He’s basically been the consigliere to almost 400 illegal grow operations, which covers multiple counties. He needs the full force of the law against him.” — Drummond to KFOR 

The Oklahoma Bar Association told KFOR that Stacy remains in “in good standing” with the organization but Lori Rasmussen, director of communications for the association, said, “It is always concerning when an Oklahoma licensed attorney is charged with a crime.” 

In a statement, Stacy’s attorney, Joe White, denied that his client had broken any of the state’s laws.  

“On behalf of our clients whose operations fall under the medical marijuana laws and regulations, our firm was in regular communication with the [Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs] for three years discussing the agency’s ever-changing interpretations of the statutes and rules that must be met for OBNDD licensure,” the statement says. “We have been and will continue to be extremely transparent and adaptable based on our understanding of the law and current regulations, even when we are in fundamental disagreement with some aspects of the agency’s interpretation and implementation of the licensing requirements.”  

White added that they “believe strongly in the Constitutional and statutory lawmaking process” and “have always worked within the bounds of the law, as it is written when advocating and representing our clients.”  

“This industry and the professionals that support it have been left to operate in a regulatory environment that is inconsistent and arbitrary,” White said. “Anytime we have taken a legal position or approach that encountered resistance we have asked for agency clarification, most times without response. Nonetheless, we have been and will continue to be transparent in all our interactions with Oklahoma’s medical marijuana regulatory agencies.” 

Last summer, two other attorneys were also charged with crimes related to setting up ghost owners for medical cannabis operations in the state. 

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