October 15, 2023
According to recent reports, Oklahoma is dealing with a rising problem – gangs of criminal organizations cultivating marijuana in the state. No, this issue isn’t something new, but there is an interesting twist to the groups who are currently engaging in these illegal activities. Police say that Oklahoma is becoming a hub for international drug trafficking operations.
Oklahoma approved medical marijuana back in 2018 through a public vote. While medical marijuana is legal, state voters continue to reject legalizing recreational marijuana.
Investigators working with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control say that they saw an increase in criminal drug activity during the pandemic. It remains unclear whether the legalization of medical marijuana has made it easier for criminal groups to grow marijuana before selling it illegally on the black market.
What is clear, though, is that Oklahoma’s pandemic response is what drew so many criminals to the state. Most other states were on lockdown while Oklahoma was wide open for business. This led many international criminal hopefuls to move to the state. Investigators believe that the international drug group is made up of mostly Chinese nationals but also Mexican cartel members, Serbian, Armenian, and Russian citizens. They also say that this is one of the biggest criminal organizations in recent times. It’s important to highlight the group’s connections to Chinese organized crime and the Chinese Communist Party.
Police say that these foreign nationals were able to bypass in-state ownership requirements for licenses, consultants, lawyers, and agents by submitting fraudulent applications to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. Police also believe there are multiple people living on Oklahoma farms who have participated in these schemes, who have a link back to the Chinese Communist Party and are considered a national security risk.
At least 800 different operations have already been shut down. 3,000 more are currently being investigated.
Marijuana Growers: How to Stay Compliant With the Law
If you’re currently working in the marijuana industry in Oklahoma or another state where cultivation is legal, then it’s paramount to stay up-to-date with all the current rules and regulations. It’s already very difficult to remain compliant with the law when it’s constantly in a state of flux.
Despite all that, it’s always a crime to submit a fraudulent application to any authority, including the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. Fraud is taken very seriously in our state. If you’re caught making these kinds of moves, then you could be charged with not only fraud but also with illegal marijuana production, too.
It is legal to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, but it is still against the law to grow marijuana to be sold on the black market, distributed to friends, or in any other type of situation. Your marijuana business will also be at risk if you’re caught violating the law. Not only will the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority likely destroy your plants, but they might also shut down your business for good.
If you’re worried about marijuana laws in the state, then get in touch with our law firm now. We can help you understand the law and fight for you if you’re facing international prosecution as a foreign national.