A Former Speaker Of The Michigan House Is Accused Of Receiving Bribes In Exchange For Cannabis Licenses

According to a federal charging sheet submitted in federal district court on Thursday, Rick Johnson, a former Republican Michigan House speaker turned cannabis regulator, accepted more than $110,000 in bribes in exchange for supporting businesses looking for medical marijuana licenses.

John Dalaly, a business owner accused of paying bribes, Brian Pierce, and Vincent Brown, two lobbyists accused of conspiring to conduct bribery, were the other two defendants indicted alongside Johnson. Each of the four defendants entered into plea agreements in which they admitted guilt.

At a press conference on Thursday, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten said, “[The marijuana sector has] been held out as an equalizing opportunity.”

“But, what we’ve learned today is that one of its main leaders acted dishonestly and did so at a time that mattered most for individuals who want to advance in this business,” the article reads.

Background: From 1999 to 2004, Johnson was a state representative, serving three of those years as speaker of the house. According to court records, he operated a lobbying company in Lansing after leaving office before chairing the Michigan marijuana licensing board from 2017 to 2019.

Read More Latest News:

Totten stated that Johnson was “at the heart of this fraudulent system,” listing financial payments and additional benefits including private chartered aircraft provided by Dalaly’s businesses. The FBI was in charge of the inquiry, which got underway in 2017.

Corrupt practices must be rooted out, FBI special agent Jim Tarasca told reporters. The money trail and digital evidence that supported the allegations were determined with the assistance of forensic accountants and computer forensic investigators, Tarasca said.

The FBI has long warned states that the cannabis market poses a risk of public corruption. From California to Massachusetts, local authorities have been accused of crimes comparable to these, while state leaders in Arkansas and Missouri have been the target of corruption charges for years.

You can also follow us on our Twitter handle to be in check with all the current happenings.

Scroll to Top