Former Michigan Republican House Speaker Pleads Guilty To Accepting Bribes From Marijuana Businesses
cannabis business concept. Medical Marijuana and Money
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Rick Johnson, who led Michigan House Republicans from 2001-2004, pleaded guilty Tuesday to accepting bribes from businesses seeking marijuana licenses in the Great Lakes State. 

From 2017-2019, Johnson chaired the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board, a state board that had the authority to decide which businesses could get into the marijuana business. During that time, Johnson received cash payments totaling at least $110,200 and other benefits from businesses and lobbyists seeking medical marijuana licenses, according to prosecutors, The Detroit News reported.   

Johnson faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He is expected to be sentenced within three to four months, according to Magistrate Judge Phillip Green. The former Michigan lawmaker was released Tuesday on an unsecured bond of $25,000, which means he was allowed to leave without making a deposit. Johnson’s guilty plea comes as investigators continue to look into how money has influenced marijuana policymaking in Michigan. 

“This investigation is ongoing, which is to say we may or may not bring future charges in this case,” U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said. “But what I can say is that the investigation and prosecution of public corruption is a priority for our office. We will follow it wherever we find it.”

Last week, businessman John Dawood Dalaly pleaded guilty to bribing Johnson. Dalaly said he gave Johnson at least $68,200 and provided two flights for him to Canada. Dalaly also told a federal judge that he hired Johnson’s wife Janice as a consultant and paid her $4,000 a month. Janice Johnson helped Dalaly fill out paperwork that would go before the board that Johnson chaired. As part of Johnson’s plea deal, she cannot be charged, the judge said Tuesday. 

Lobbyists Brian Pierce and Vincent Brown, who allegedly gave Johnson $42,000 in cash and benefits, have also agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with investigators. 

Medical marijuana became legal in Michigan in 2008 and recreational marijuana use was approved by voters in 2018. The Medical Marijuana Licensing Board was disbanded by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2019 after she took office. 

Michigan’s marijuana business raked in $2.3 billion in 2022, according to the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency, making Michigan the second-largest cannabis market in the U.S. behind California. 


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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Former Michigan Republican House Speaker Pleads Guilty To Accepting Bribes From Marijuana Businesses