Ex-GOP House Speaker Charged In Medical Marijuana Bribery Scheme

Former GOP House Speaker Rick Johnson and three others–including a medical marijuana business owner–have been charged with accepting payments or committing bribery, the Detroit News reported yesterday.

Matt Totten, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, announced the charges against Johnson, lobbyists Brian Pierce and Vincent Brown, and business owner John Dalaly. Totten said that all four men admitted to the charges and signed plea agreements.

Johnson was the chairman of the state’s medical marijuana licensing board from 2017 to 2019. The board is in charge of accepting or denying applications for licenses for the ventures, the Detroit News said. Johnson, who Totten said “was the heart of the scheme,” allegedly accepted bribes in order to influence the process of awarding the licenses.

Johnson’s plea agreements includes the government not to pursue any other charges related to the scheme beyond the $110,200 outlined in the felony filing nor argue against Johnson attempting to reduce his sentence.

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