I’m shocked. Shocked.
In the more than two years since California voters approved the licensed growing and sale of recreational marijuana, the state has seen a half-dozen government corruption cases as black-market operators try to game the system, through bribery and other means. The cases are tarnishing an already troubled roll-out of the state permitting of pot businesses as provided for when voters approved Proposition 64 in November 2016…
“There is no doubt in my mind that the multi-billion-dollar nature of the marijuana industry is corrupting public officials,” said Lopey, a 41-year veteran of law enforcement who began his full-time career as a California Highway Patrol officer stationed in East Los Angeles.
California is going full narcosocialist and there’s a price to pay for that. The price is deeper corruption and criminality.
That case is just one of several that have involved cannabis sellers and growers allegedly bribing or trying to bribe government officials, or public officials acting illegally to get rich from marijuana.
Last year, Jermaine Wright, then the mayor pro tem of Adelanto, was charged with agreeing to accept a bribe to fast-track a marijuana business. Wright’s trial is scheduled for August. In May, FBI agents served search warrants at the home of Rich Kerr, who was mayor of Adelanto at the time, as well as at City Hall and a marijuana retailer.
Also in May, Humboldt County building inspector Patrick Mctigue was arrested and charged with accepting $100,000 in bribes from marijuana businesses seeking expedited help on county permits, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
Last March, a federal jury reached guilty verdicts to bribery and extortion charges against Michael Kimbrew, who was a field representative to then-Rep. Janice Hahn when he accepted cash from an undercover FBI agent while pledging his “undying support” to protect a marijuana dispensary that the city of Compton was trying to close.
While part of the LA Times story tilt claims that this is about “black market” drug dealers, most of these examples appear to involve those that were legal or trying to go legal.
But that takes us to the baffling difference between a black market drug dealer and a legal drug dealer is that the latter is paying off the government. Now we have drug businesses getting in trouble for paying off government officials in the wrong sort of way.
We want drug dealers to legalize by legally paying off the government.
Going narcosocialist really is a slippery slope.
Clauder started out driving pot from Humboldt County to legal medical cannabis dispensaries in Southern California. He turned to illegal transportation out of state after he was fired from a job as an aide to then-Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto) over an unrelated criminal case for which he was later found innocent.
Clauder said cannabis growers paid him about $30,000 for every 100 pounds of marijuana he transported back east, and he made the cross-country trip about 45 times before he was arrested in Texas.
“I think it’s a temptation, if you can’t make it legally, to cross a line,” Clauder said. “I went from working for a U.S. Congressman to being homeless and destitute overnight. What was I supposed to do? I just fell into it.”
The State of California fell into it.
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