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Former MI House Speaker Pleads Guilty in Cannabis Bribery Scheme

Former Michigan House Speaker Rick Johnson, a Republican, has been charged with public corruption related to the state's medical marijuana licensing process. Johnson and three other defendants have agreed to plead guilty to felony offenses, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The investigation into Johnson's activity began in December 2017, and he served as chair of the Michigan Marijuana Licensing Board (MMLB) from 2017 to 2019. During his time at the MMLB, Johnson provided valuable non-public information and assistance with license application matters to those who paid him money, according to court documents. Johnson's plea agreement states he accepted more than $100,000 in cash payments and benefits during his tenure as chair of the MMLB. The investigation is ongoing, and plea hearings are expected in the next one to two weeks.

This case highlights the importance of cracking down on public corruption at all levels, as emphasized by U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. The bribery charges against Johnson and the other defendants show that no one is above the law and that the government will hold public officials accountable for their actions. It's also worth noting that Governor Gretchen Whitmer abolished the MMLB in 2019 to establish the Marijuana Regulatory Agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which was aimed at eliminating inefficiencies in the medical marijuana licensing process.

As the FBI's investigation into this matter continues, it serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability in all aspects of government. We must hold our public officials to the highest standards and take swift action when corruption is suspected.


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