Over the last two years, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) has shut down more than 800 unlawful cannabis farms operating under the guise of the state’s medical cannabis law, KFOR reports. The crackdowns have led to more than 200 arrests and the seizure of nearly 7,000 pounds of cannabis.
Mark Woodward, spokesman for OBN, told KFOR that the agency’s enforcement actions are focused on “out-of-state” illegal operations that allegedly have ties to international crime networks, including groups from Russia, Bulgaria, Armenia, and Serbia.
“There may be people who watch and say, well, what’s the big deal? It’s just marijuana. I don’t think they have the full gravity of the situation about the violent behavior, the quadruple homicides, the sex trafficking, labor trafficking, extortion, violence, arson, water and electrical theft and other issues that we’re dealing with out here with these criminal organizations here in Oklahoma.” — Woodward to KFOR
Woodward added that the illegal operations are hurting the state’s legitimate medical cannabis businesses by driving prices down, which is leading to closures and bankruptcies.
“And so, we’re going to do everything we can to protect the businesses while going after and sending a message to those that this is not a safe haven for your criminal organizations to come and try to hide,” Woodward said, “because we will identify them and we will shut them down.”
Woodward indicated that OBN is currently investigating several thousand potential illegal cannabis farms throughout the state.
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