Oklahoma Attorney General says fentanyl can be stopped by cracking down on illegal marijuana

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond told FOX23 the rise of fentanyl can be stopped by stopping illegal marijuana at the root.

“It is coming up from Mexico, not that Mexicans are bringing it. It’s Chinese nationals,” Drummond explained.

He said the people running many of the illegal grows are not only selling and exporting illegally grown marijuana but also other drugs like fentanyl.

“You have this perfect storm where we created this mechanism. If lack of enforcement of illegal grows it is now blessed to all friends and family of illegal operators that have entered our state,” Drummond said.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) said it has shut down more than 200 illegal grows. The state has around 8,000 registered commercial medical marijuana licenses. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority said since August of 2021 more than 700 commercial medical marijuana licenses are no longer active.

Drummond said that’s a great start to getting fentanyl off the street and slowing down the record number of fentanyl overdose deaths over the last two years.

“If we look at it [from] a macro perspective, fentanyl has been around but now, we have illegal grow operations of marijuana and then a distribution system that the illegal operators have set up. We have organized crime already breaking the law in Oklahoma…why not add fentanyl and other opioids, slave trafficking and sex trafficking? We have the distribution. Oklahoma is open for business. I intend to close it,” he said.

OBN said it suspects nearly 2,000 grow operations statewide could be operating illegally.