Medical pot sales in Oklahoma top $4.3 million in January

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Numbers from the Oklahoma Tax Commission show medical marijuana sales topped $4.3 million in January, a four-fold increase from the previous month.

The agency released figures on Tuesday that show the 7 percent tax on medical marijuana sales generated $305,265 in January. That figure doesn't include the standard sales tax that varies from city to city that is also being assessed on medical pot sales.

Oklahoma voters approved a medical marijuana state question in June, and the industry has taken off quickly. Nearly 44,000 Oklahoma patients, 950 dispensaries and 1,600 growers have been licensed since August.

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority also has generated more than $13 million in licensing fees.

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Jury selection to begin in Oklahoma City bomb plot trial

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A man charged with trying to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound (450-kilogram) bomb outside an Oklahoma City bank is standing trial in federal court.

Jury selection begins Tuesday in the trial of Jerry Varnell, who pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted use of an explosive device and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

Prosecutors say Varnell planned to detonate a vehicle bomb Aug. 12, 2017, but the FBI learned of the plan and an undercover agent posing as someone who could help construct the device provided inert materials.

Defense attorneys argue that Varnell was entrapped.

The judge has prohibited prosecutors from showing jurors a video of a similar bomb exploding, but will allow photos and testimony about the potential damage it could cause.

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Oklahoma general fund collections outpace estimate

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — State finance officials say revenue collections to Oklahoma's main state operating fund continue to outpace the official estimate, but they warn of a slowdown in coming months.

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services released figures on Tuesday that show General Revenue Fund collections in January totaled $714 million, which is nearly 9 percent above the monthly estimate.

Total collections for the first seven months of the fiscal year are $203 million, or nearly 6 percent, above the official estimate to date.

OMES Director John Budd says collections are strong, but he cautioned that a downturn in the energy sector that began in October is likely to reduce collections in the coming months.

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Former candidate for Oklahoma attorney general is sued

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A former candidate for Oklahoma attorney general is being sued by the federal government for the loss of nearly 41,000 trees on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land in northeastern Oklahoma.

The lawsuit filed Feb. 8 alleges Gentner Drummond and his Drummond Ranch LLC hired two companies to apply herbicides by air to about 1,000 acres (405 hectares) on the ranch that killed the trees on Corps-owned land adjacent to the ranch.

The lawsuit first reported by the Tulsa World seeks unspecified compensatory damages and court costs.

Drummond said in a statement to The Associated Press that the government appears to be acting "contrary to wildlife management and natural range development."

Drummond lost the Republican primary for attorney general in 2018 to incumbent Mike Hunter by fewer than 300 votes.

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Missouri man receives probation in Oklahoma pipe bomb case

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A 36-year-old Missouri man has been placed on probation after pleading guilty to having a pipe bomb at his former apartment in Oklahoma.

Federal court records in Tulsa show Richard C. Cole received 2½ years of probation when he was sentenced Thursday on one felony count of possession of an unregistered destructive device. Cole faced up to 10 years in prison.

Cole, of Joplin, was charged in August after the landlord of Cole's former apartment in Afton found an improvised explosive device in a garage after Cole was evicted from the rental.

Authorities later discovered two 1-pound canisters containing "mixed Tannerite," a binary explosive, two boxes of ammunition and a pipe bomb in an ammunition container. The explosive device was rendered safe and nobody was hurt.