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US (MI): "Cannabis group quietly gave cash to Michigan lawmakers' nonprofits"

A group that represented Michigan's largest cannabis companies quietly contributed $160,000 to lawmakers' nonprofit accounts as legislators crafted proposals that would have been a boon for the industry, according to documents obtained by The Detroit News.

The Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association's tax filings for 2020 and 2021 show how interest groups are permitted to provide money to benefit officeholders in secret and shine a light on the financial interactions of policymakers and business leaders as the state's recreational adult-use cannabis market got off the ground.

Already, state Attorney General Dana Nessel's office has been investigating former House Speaker Lee Chatfield's ties to the industry and his use of a nonprofit account, and a federal grand jury has been probing whether Rick Johnson, the ex-chairman of the state's medical cannabis licensing board, received bribes during his tenure on the influential panel.

There is currently no indication the giving of the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association (MCMA) Advocacy Fund violated state statutes or is subject to law enforcement scrutiny. But critics said the group's actions showed flaws in disclosure laws and a quiet effort to use the money to influence policy.


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