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

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Protest for Tyre Nichols to be held outside MN Governor’s Mansion

Activists groups say they’ll call on Gov. Tim Walz and the Legislature to implement police reforms.


Minnesota pool contractor banned from industry, must pay $2 million-plus

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed suit against Charles Workman and his company, MN Crete Pools, LLC, in August.

Minneapolis police

St. Paul man identified as victim of north Minneapolis homicide

The shooting occurred on the 2200 block of Emerson Avenue North on Wednesday.


Two youths seriously injured after being struck by driver in Bloomington

Police say the boy is in a critical condition, while the girl has severe injuries.

Rosedale Center

Two men sentenced for carjacking in Rosedale Center parking lot

Leon Kismit Bell, 49, and Jack Mitchell Piche, 23, were sentenced in U.S. District Court on Jan. 20.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 3.59.30 PM

Police identify White Bear Lake officer shot while serving warrant

The officer is a six-year veteran of the department.

abortion, planned parenthood

Minnesota Senate passes bill codifying abortion into state law

Having already passed in the House, it will now be sent to Gov. Tim Walz for signing into law.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."


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.

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

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.

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.