Illustrating the problem
A few examples that highlight California’s cannabis corruption issues:
- In February 2017, in Huntington Park, eight medical marijuana dispensary applicants sued the Los Angeles suburb in federal court. The suit alleges several officials – including the mayor, vice mayor and a City Council member – conspired with private companies to award the city’s three dispensary permits to predetermined companies, essentially defrauding subsequent bidders of their $5,000 application fees.
- In January, one licensed retailer filed suit against the city and county of San Francisco, alleging the local board of supervisors passed over the company for a license but later granted one to a competitor that had contributed thousands of dollars to several board members’ political campaigns.
- In May, FBI officials raided the mayor of Adelanto‘s home and executed search warrants there, at city hall and at an MJ retailer in the city northeast of L.A. The nature of the investigation has not been disclosed, but the incident follows the 2017 arrest of Adelanto’s vice mayor, who stands accused of taking bribes to “fast-track a marijuana business,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
- Also in May, a Humboldt County Planning and Building Department inspector was arrested on bribery charges, and is alleged to have defrauded various companies, including some in the cannabis sector.