Skip to main content

Former execs charged with smuggling medical marijuana oil out of state

Two former employees of Minnesota Medical Solutions are accused of diverting cannabis to their parent company in New York.

Two former executives with one of Minnesota's medical marijuana companies face felony charges of illegally sending cannabis oil out of state.

The charges were filed in Wright County District Court on Monday against the former chief medical officer and the former security director of Minnesota Medical Solutions (MMS). Convictions on each of the two counts against Laura Bultman and Ronald Owens could bring two years in prison and a $3,000 fine.

Charges say they tried to help their parent company

The criminal complaints against Bultman and against Owens say they arranged to send 5.6 kilos of marijuana oil worth half a million dollars to MMS' parent company, Vireo Health, in New York.

Agents with Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated after a tip from another former MMS executive. They say company records show that in December of 2015 MMS sent jars of marijuana oil from their facility in Otsego to their patient center in Minneapolis.

But the complaint notes that the Minneapolis center only sells pills and liquid capsules and cannot process marijuana oil. Instead, investigators say, Bultman drove the oil in an armored vehicle to Vireo Health in New York. They say they do not believe Owens' statements that the oil was incinerated at a garbage burner in Alexandria.

Wright County's chief criminal prosecutor tells MPR News Vireo Health was in trouble because it couldn't meet its production deadlines in New York. "They were behind, and that's why they needed the oils (from) Minnesota," Brian Lutes tells the network.

Why would this be illegal?

The Minnesota law setting up the state's medical marijuana program says cannabis can only be provided to a caregiver, a patient, or the parent/guardian of a patient. And they have to be listed on the state's medical marijuana registry.

The Albany Times Union notes that since the U.S. government considers marijuana illegal – even for medical purposes – transporting it across state lines is a crime. Right now, though, there are only charges at the state level.

In an emailed statement, Vireo Health told GoMN they are cooperating with the agencies investigating the case.

“When we became aware of the possibility that one or more individuals may have acted in ways contrary to the laws of the state and to our own policies and procedures, we acted immediately to investigate the allegations, communicate with our regulators and take appropriate action," they said.

Lawyers for both Bultman and Owens told MPR their clients are innocent and will fight the charges.

The Times Union reports Vireo said last summer the claims came from a disgruntled employee who had been fired by the company and said he would harm the business.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild have 2 players named to NHL All-Star Game

The Wild could have a third representative through the "Last Man In" ballot.

trattoria mucci facebook

Popular Italian eatery in Uptown to permanently close

The owner of Trattoria Mucci said it "just didn't work out this time."

colbert redmons billboard jan 2022

MN popcorn shop gets Times Square billboard via 'The Late Show'

The last time Redmon's Popcorn got national attention, it shut down two days later.

child parent mask covid pexels

Frey backtracks on dining mandate: Kids age 2-4 won’t need test

The mayor told Chad Hartman the city is already working to change its just-announced regulation.

264 Willmar Ave SE, Willmar, Minnesota - October 2019

11 staff members on leave after refusing Willmar district's COVID policy

The staff members were placed on leave after they "opted not to comply."

TIMOTHY BORRMAN

Man charged with stealing van with dog inside in South St. Paul

He apparently said he didn't realize there was a dog inside.

Screen Shot 2022-01-13 at 12.35.16 PM

Here's where COVID-19 case rates are the highest in Minnesota

The highest rates can be found mainly in southeastern Minnesota and around the Twin Cities metro area.

als breakfast facebook post

After staff got COVID, someone sent Al's Breakfast a letter mocking its vaxx requirement

"So sorry to hear your fully vaccinated staff is sick with Covid and you are forced to close," the letter begins.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 2

NWS releases snowfall forecast for specific Minnesota cities

Here's how much snow is forecast for more than 50 cities in Minnesota, including the majority of the metro area.

Woobury robbery Jan 2022 2 crop

Armed robber hits Twin Cities Speedway twice in 5 days

Authorities are asking for the public's help identifying the suspect.

Related

An expansion of Minnesota's medical marijuana program is underway

For the second year, the list of medical conditions that qualify for marijuana use is growing.

Daycare owner charged with attempted murder of 16-month-old

Prosecutors say the woman told a parent she couldn't take it anymore.

3 charged in one of Minnesota's biggest gun shop burglaries

About 75 guns were stolen from the southern Minnesota gun shop in September.

Suspect in school sex case released while prosecutors consider charges

The Hennepin County Attorney says lawyers need more time to decide whether to file charges.

Muslim groups condemn Ohio State attack; motive investigated

The suspect killed after an attack that injured 11 was a Somali-American student at Ohio State's business school

Feds: 5 execs embezzled $20 million from Starkey Labs

Executives working for the Twin Cities hearing aid maker and its suppliers allegedly stole the money over a decade, partly by creating a fake consultant company.

The prison sentence for this sex criminal is St. Louis County's longest in decades

His two sentences will be served back-to-back, not at the same time.