By Robert Medley
Senior Staff Writer
State Attorney General Gentner Drummond is tackling illegal marijuana operations, fentanyl and human trafficking as well as tribal law issues in office.
Drummond talked about the challenges as the guest speaker of the Countyline Republican Women who met Thursday, Sept. 7 at Nina Willingham Senior Housing in Yukon.
Chinese nationals have partnered with Mexican cartels to take advantage of Oklahoma medical marijuana production laws.
There are 200,000 acres owned in Oklahoma by Chinese nationals, Drummond told those who gathered at the senior housing community.
There are cases of human trafficking, and young women who have been rescued from prostitution, Drummond said.
Illegal marijuana grows have been shut down, and more resources are being put into the issue, he said.
Another issue is domestic violence.
Kristie Chandler, director of Cardinal Point family justice center in Canadian County, spoke about the recent death of Jordan Cannon, a Cleveland County sheriff’s deputy who was shot to death recently at her home in eastern Canadian County.
Cannon’s husband, also a deputy, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with her death.
Drummond said he supports resources to help domestic abuse victims.
He also talked about illegal marijuana operations in Oklahoma with foreign involvement.
“Medical marijuana, whether you voted for it or not. Doesn’t matter to me. I don’t have an opinion because I just enforce the law,” Drummond said.
It is the law in the State of Oklahoma that an individual can have a medical marijuana card and it gets them all the marijuana they want.
“And when we enacted the rules associated with that, we used law-following members of society in that space that wanted to grow, and distribute and sell retail marijuana,” Drummond said. “And what happened is we didn’t contemplate, ‘What if bad guys come in and exploit our laws?’
“So, they were not written tight, tightly. So, what we have had happen then is, we are a small state in population, only 4 million, we have low cost of land, we have pro-business, we have a lot of great things going for us. And so, the Chinese national government and Mexican cartels say, ‘This is right for a partnership’.”
CRIME HAS THRIVED
Crime has thrived in Oklahoma surrounding medical marijuana, according to the attorney general.
“So, what we have happening now, and for the last four years, we have the criminal element has decided it is easy to break the law in Oklahoma because nobody is enforcing it,” he said.
Drummond said the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority was not enforcing state laws until May.
“They realized that they should be enforcing this,” he said. “They honestly were only administrating, so the criminals got a 3-1/2-year head start.”
The Chinese have partnered with Mexican cartels since legalization of medical marijuana by voters in 2018, Drummond said.
“And they are advertising in China today, ‘Join our team, Team China. We will put you to work in Oklahoma room and board, a stipend and a salary. You work for us for seven years and at the end of the seven years we give you $50,000 and you are liberated’,” Drummond said.
He said “thousands of Chinese” have moved to Oklahoma, including about 4,000 people from China who have illegally entered the state.
“40% of the marijuana consumed in New York City was grown here,” Drummond said. “We are in the top 10, the top one state in exporting black market marijuana.”
He also said fentanyl is a crisis in Oklahoma, and new law is going after illegal sales that can be deadly.
“It’s a dangerous, dangerous situation,” Drummond said.
Oklahoma’s AG said authorities are finding young Asian women who are being trafficked as prostitutes, and authorities are tracking down illegal activities.
“We have a problem.” Drummond said, before discussing other issues regarding state prosecution of Native Americans on tribal land in eastern Oklahoma.