According to a guilty deal submitted in federal court, the former chair of Michigan’s medical marijuana licensing board and the former speaker of the state House acknowledged accepting more than $110,000 in bribes to assist firms in obtaining medical marijuana licenses.
According to the deal, 70-year-old Rick Johnson consented to plead guilty to the felony allegation of taking a bribe and acknowledged acting “corruptly.”
The tweet below confirms the news:
The former head of Michigan’s medical marijuana licensing board and former state House speaker admitted to taking more than $110,000 in bribes to help businesses get medical marijuana licenses, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court. https://t.co/YXeGDbDMHM
— CNN (@CNN) April 7, 2023
According to public records, Johnson, a Republican, presided over the licensing board from 2017 to 2019 and previously served as speaker of the state House from 2001 to 2004.
According to the US attorney’s office, Johnson and three other people who were accused in connection with the case have consented to assist the FBI and the US attorney’s office in their investigation.
“Public corruption is a poison to any democracy,” US Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten said in a news release. “Those who wield the power of state have a sacred obligation to serve the people they represent. But when a government official takes a bribe, they spurn that solemn duty – in favor of the connected, the crooked, and ultimately themselves.”
According to the plea deal, Johnson will be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in jail, pay a $250,000 fine, and pay back the $110,200 in benefits and cash he received.
According to the plea deal, the US attorney’s office may submit a move to lessen Johnson’s sentence if he completely cooperates.
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