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Ex-head of Michigan marijuana board charged with bribery

The former head of a Michigan medical marijuana licensing board accepted more than $100,000 in bribes to influence his decisions and has agreed to plead guilty, federal authorities said Thursday.

The charges against Rick Johnson and three other men were announced by U.S. Attorney Mark Totten.

“Public corruption is a poison to any democracy,” Totten said.

Johnson was chairman of the marijuana board for two years until spring 2019 and was formerly one of the most powerful lawmakers in the Capitol, serving as House speaker from 2001-04.

The marijuana board reviewed and approved applications to grow and sell marijuana.

Johnson and the others have signed agreements with his office and will plead guilty, Totten said.

A message seeking comment from Johnson’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned.

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