California bribery case highlights corruption allegations engulfing the state’s cannabis industry

  • When federal attorneys in California announced bribery charges last week against two Calexico city officials who allegedly accepted $35,000 in cash bribes in exchange for help obtaining marijuana business licenses, many in the cannabis industry shrugged it off as par for the course.
  • Sacramento, California-based consultant Jackie McGowan noted that such situations have become absolutely prevalent in various areas of the state, particularly in the southern region, where more cities and counties are awarding business permits.
  • I had a situation in a Southern California city that began to show strong signals that a bag of cash was soon to be requested, McGowan wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily as an illustration of how common such practices have become.
  • Public corruption remains the FBI’s top criminal priority, Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Omer Meisel said in a news release announcing the Calexico case.
  • The case a sting operation targeting the mayor pro tem of Calexico and one of the city’s staffers is also far from the only one that has come to light since California’s regulated marijuana market launched in 2018.

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