NATIONAL NEWS

Feds get first guilty plea in Michigan marijuana board probe

Apr 21, 2023, 9:53 AM

FILE - Rick Johnson chairs the committee as it meets before a capacity crowd in Lansing, Mich., Jun...

FILE - Rick Johnson chairs the committee as it meets before a capacity crowd in Lansing, Mich., June 26, 2017, at the first open meeting of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Board. Federal authorities said Thursday, April 6, 2023, that Johnson, the former head of a Michigan medical marijuana licensing board, accepted more than $100,000 in bribes and has agreed to plead guilty. (Dale G Young/Detroit News via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Dale G Young/Detroit News via AP, File)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A businessman pleaded guilty Friday to bribing the head of a Michigan marijuana licensing board, the first conviction in a federal investigation into payoffs and other benefits before the panel was disbanded in 2019.

John Dalaly appeared in federal court in Grand Rapids, two weeks after his plea deal was announced.

Dalaly said he provided at least $68,200 in cash and other benefits to Rick Johnson, including two private flights to Canada.

Johnson, 70, was chairman of the marijuana board for two years. The board reviewed and approved applications to grow and sell marijuana for medical purposes.

Dalaly said Johnson had recommended that he hire Johnson’s wife as a consultant to help with his application.

Johnson, a Republican, is scheduled to plead guilty next Tuesday. He was a powerful lawmaker years ago, serving as House speaker from 2001 through 2004.

Two lobbyists are also due in court next week. Brian Pierce and Vincent Brown have agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to pass bribes to Johnson. All four men are cooperating with investigators, which could help them at sentencing.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer abolished the medical marijuana board a few months after taking office in 2019 and put oversight of the industry inside a state agency.

Michigan voters legalized marijuana for medical purposes in 2008. A decade later, voters approved the recreational use of marijuana.

National News

Associated Press

2024 Election Latest: Harris has secured enough support to earn party’s nomination, AP survey finds

Vice President Kamala Harris had a busy 24 hours after being endorsed as the Democratic presidential candidate by President Joe Biden. She has secured enough delegates to earn the party’s nomination and raised more than $81 million, a record sum for the 2024 political cycle. Meanwhile, The Secret Service director testified before a congressional committee […]

20 minutes ago

Associated Press

2 killed when small plane crashes after takeoff from Long Island airport

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (AP) — A small plane crashed shortly after takeoff on New York’s Long Island, killing both people who were on board, authorities said. The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza A36 took off from MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma at about 6:15 p.m. Monday and crashed after the pilot tried to return to the runway, Suffolk County […]

34 minutes ago

Associated Press

Kamala Harris is preparing to lead Democrats in 2024. There are lessons from her 2020 bid

ATLANTA (AP) — Kamala Harris was greeted by a massive, cheering crowd during the first rally of her newly announced presidential campaign in 2019. Speaking on a late January day outside city hall in her hometown of Oakland, California, she framed her bid as part of something bigger than simply winning an election. “We are […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Unsold 2024 Escalade utility vehicles sit in a row outside a Cadillac dealership on June 2, ...

Associated Press

With US vehicle prices averaging near $50K, General Motors sees 2nd-quarter profits rise 15%

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. customers who bought a new General Motors vehicle last quarter paid an average of just under $49,900, a price that helped push the company’s net income 15% above a year ago. And GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said he doesn’t see his company cutting prices very much, despite industry analysts’ […]

2 hours ago

FILE - In this July 27, 2021 file photo, Simone Biles, of the United States, watches gymnasts perfo...

Associated Press

Biles, Osaka and Phelps spoke up about mental health. Has anything changed for the Paris Olympics?

Lydia Jacoby was a breakout star in the pool for the United States at the last Summer Games, earning a gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke and a relay silver. Part of what comes to mind from those heady days in Tokyo? “People talking about post-Olympic depression,” she said. She was 17 at the time, […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Harris to visit battleground Wisconsin in first rally as Democrats coalesce around her for president

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris is making her first visit to a battleground state Tuesday after locking up enough support from Democratic delegates to win her party’s nomination to challenge former President Donald Trump, two days after President Joe Biden dropped his reelection bid. As the Democratic Party continues to coalesce around her, […]

3 hours ago

Feds get first guilty plea in Michigan marijuana board probe