LANSING, Mich., Feb. 2, 2023 — The Detroit News reported yesterday that the FBI has spent more than two years investigating former Michigan House speaker Rick Johnson and several others on whether they received bribes in return for awarding state licenses to operate medical marijuana facilities. Johnson is accused of accepting bribes during his time as chair of the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board from May 2017 to April 2019. As chairman of the board, Johnson had the power to influence the board’s agenda and determine which marijuana grower and retailer license applications were considered and when. In response to the news, state Rep. Erin Byrnes (D-Dearborn), chair of the House Ethics and Oversight Committee, issued the following statement: 

“The news surrounding former Speaker Rick Johnson is alarming and deeply troubling. We have seen concerns regarding a lack of accountability in the Legislature arise time and time again. As chair of the House Ethics and Oversight Committee, I plan to use instances like this to generate change for a more ethical and transparent model of leadership. I, along with my Democratic colleagues in the House, believe that elected officials and leadership should be held to the highest standards, and that no one is above the law.”