FBI investigating possible corruption in US cannabis industry

The FBI is looking into potential corruption in the burgeoning U.S. marijuana industry – particularly in Western  markets – and is seeking tips to investigate.

“As an increasing number of states change their marijuana legislation, the FBI is seeing a public corruption threat emerge in the expanding cannabis industry,” FBI spokeswoman Mollie Halpern said on a podcast released by the FBI on Thursday.

“States require licenses to grow and sell the drug – opening the possibility for public officials to become susceptible to bribes in exchange for those licenses.”

She asked listeners to contact local FBI field offices if they suspect either a dispensary is operating illegally or public corruption in the marijuana industry.

Supervisory Special Agent Regino Chavez added that the FBI has learned of some cannabis business licenses being sold for as much as $500,000, an indicator of how much of a corrupting influence license caps can have for the new market.

And FBI Intelligence Analyst David Kirschner said the issue won’t be disappearing anytime soon.

Several industry sources have separately confirmed to Marijuana Business Daily that they’ve spoken with FBI agents in recent years.

What they’ve often discussed is the possibility of corruption and pay-to-play situations in the awarding of business licenses.

Corruption has been an ongoing obstacle in California for many entrepreneurs.

For more on this story, click here.

John Schroyer can be reached at [email protected]

18 comments on “FBI investigating possible corruption in US cannabis industry
  1. Jacques on

    “She asked listeners to contact local FBI field offices if they suspect either a dispensary is operating illegally or public corruption in the marijuana industry.”

    Hey Mollie. This is your job. Its what we pay you to do.

    Reply
    • Rocky Dewyer on

      It’s all illegal in True manner; it has not been accepted in Truth by our founding documents under our Law of Free Government.
      I Am The First True Proof of what these laws represent! And not one business or State a has allowed or ordered that I be given the position or license to see that it is properly validated. Many may claim, but if you don’t accept the First True Documented Case or Individual their License and Right, all religious, health, and business sectors are not according to our Constitution. And I find that plant to be the backbone of our Constitution. Introducing it without such light; is another layer of Long Train Destructive Government. I believe Cannibus to be the cornerstone of our Constitutional Law. Furthermore allowing such is not only undermining the value of our Constituion; but is undermining the integrity, values, morality and character of citizens both State and Fed.
      Call me anytime to discuss!

      Reply
      • KD on

        Hi Rocky, my kids and I are victims of the corruption. I don’t hate marijuana. I want there to be more enforcement and regulations, and I am actually being s omewhat punished for being the “sober” parent. I have been accused of many false claims by him and the corrupt connections of my husbands fmily all for the purpose of taking my children whom I satayed home with since birth. they are under the age of 6. He has played the “medical” card, even though he is certified poly drug addict by a doctor, and yes marijuana is an addition in his case. He would bring home boxed rice with bugs in it from donations, because he spent money on his drugs first. he made enough, at least 18/hr on and off for 7 years. he was always withdrawn from us as well. their father is not a good example for the industry, however his lawyer and smoke and mirrors say otherwise of course. It’s still illegal federal level, sober parents should always have full custody and the final say for children, and we need more oversight of marijuana and FDA involvement to curb this problem of good parents being falsly accused to make the marijuana user/industry seem the lesser of the evils.

        Can we talk more, I’d like to know your opinions. maybe we can help eachother.

        Reply
  2. Joyce swinney on

    It seemed everything that comes up in Saguache, CO passed for a license with little or.no consideration anout issues nrought up by the public opinion or fact Do to people do not feel safe in their homes. The schools are dealing with drug issues, social services have more case load than they can handle. The sheriff’s office can not keep up and jails are over crowded. The commissioners pass the land use permits for marijuana as the county receives “so much money” Yet if u look at our education system due to marijuana coming to school, the extra money needed for.enforcement and all the expenese caused by the.industry I don’t believe the county is making that much. May even be.losing money. As to whether bribes are involved I have no idea. I do think the whole system needs a very close overview. They can not keep a code officer. They are required to go out alone with no firearm. Probably not.safe situation. Shai would like to see the whole system gone over with a fine toothed comb

    Reply
    • Paul on

      Look at the size of your town and the socioeconomics, and compare to other rural towns across midwestern American towns where cannabis is still illegal… the problem isn’t legal cannabis sweetie. Drug addicts become drug addictd in small towns because their aren’t jobs and people are depressed and miserable. Children see adults go down this path and it’s an endless loophole. It’s plagued cities for decades and now the fall of industrialization is spreading nationwide. We need to give our people hope, not deprive them of herbal medicine.

      Reply
  3. Bob banana on

    Methinks the FBI should investigate the corruption festering inside their own agency before bothering cannabis consumers or producers.

    Reply
    • David Merrifield on

      I agree completely. The FBI needs to stay the hell out and do an internal investigation of their rotting ethics and illegal behavior. The FBI is a danger to the American people and needs to be shut down.

      Reply
  4. Anjani Singh on

    The FBI SHOULD ALSO LOOK INTO THE LABORATORIES TESTING THESE MMJ &HEMP PLANTS , THERE HAS BEEN FALSIFIED TEST RESULTS GIVEN IN ORDER TO GET THESE PRODUCTS TO RETAIL. THE STATES NEEDS TO MAKE SURE ALL LABORATORIES ARE FOLLOWING SAME SOPs!!!!

    Reply
    • bettyloo on

      not to mention when 4 out of 6 city council memebers suddenly own dispensaries and grow operations, then decided to put a moratorium on ANYBODY else’s personal grows with “exclusions” of theirs. Claims “too many smell complaints” and it was 22 complaints out of 200,000 ppl. HARDLY enough for justification. Seems like a CONFLICT of Interests! I KNOW whats in my cannabis and tomatoes. Im not under pressure to spray poisionous pesticides that harm the environment, wildlife and me. Then they pay off the labs to look the other way, and since they ARE THE GOVERNMENT the labs must comply. Its all BS if you ask me. Pretty soon all the remaining states will be formatted after Jay Inslee’s program in Wa where NO PERSONAL grows are allowed, which was the entire point of us voting for legalization. NOT the industrialized chemical filled outrageously large commercial farms. All the run off from these chemical fertilzers are causing terrible toxic algae blooms in our lakes and streams where nobody can use for recreation. They let anyone get a permit who knows nothing about agricultrue and spray all kinds of pesticides contaminating everyone on these large scale farms.

      Reply
  5. JY KELLY on

    Hahaha.. Another crime that will never be solved by the very disgraced FBI….. Is there any law enforcement agency that is more compromised, in America these days?..

    Reply
  6. LLOYD ROBERTSON on

    It’s quite simple every time the state sticks his hand out they want money any state all I want is just money it keeps little guy out that way all he do is have the big money to deal with and it’s shameful

    Reply
  7. Paul on

    Investigate the entire Pennsylvania medial cannabis system, corrupt from the beginning to end. Notice all the political ties that clearly can’t be coincidental.

    Reply
  8. Cannamomxoxo on

    Quite the double standard considering that pharmaceuticals, insurance, gas and oil etc. bought the entire federal government. I guess we’ll just look the other way about that. ???

    Reply
  9. linda brewer on

    wow, I agree with ALL these comments. We voted to legalize so we could grow our OWN plants. Now that city govt is involved, and half own their own dispensaries and grow operations, they put a MORATORIUM on EVERYBODY ELSE. I know whats in MY cannabis, and I see the Devistation big grows are using chemical fertilizers and the effects its having on our lakes, streams, rivers and now the ocean with toxic algae blooms that we cant even go in the water or allow animals to ingest. Its disgusting they will take OUT OF STATE money to install 2000-4000 plant grows, but the medical patient cannot grow her own few plants b.c of liviing in the city limits, although rural. No they “claimed” too many smell complaints. (22 complaints out of 200,000ppl) Liars…So they shut eveyone else down in a legal state. OUTRAGEOUS….In addition, I dont see where those dollars are going. NOBODY DOES….WHY? B.c its going into their pockets just like Jay Inslee who rakes in over 4 million PER MONTH b.c they dont allow personal grows at all in Wa. He is a bigger drug Zar than El Chapo. The whole thing is SO CORRUPT since Government got involved. They want to control EVERY PLANT, yet I dont see them inspecting the giant grows from out o state that paid them off.

    Reply
    • Bob on

      Mmmmm no not really… you assert these things but i know you only have anecdotal evidence and the small 10,000 sq ft farmers are struggling under taxes testing and infrastructure costs brought on by county requirement that are crippling.
      The fact is its set up to fail because the black market pays more and has none of the oversight or other costs… especially taxes.

      Reply
  10. D on

    What really need investigation in the strong arm tactics being used by wealthy organizations that come and crush your business and then try and take you place by corporate strong arm. This is a plague in the industry right now.

    Reply
  11. Bob Howard on

    People turning each other in to the feds?

    Disgraceful. The corruption is partially fabricated and i think the feds ought to get out of state politics and policy.

    Gaven Newsom sending federal troops i.e. the national guard because the black market is cutting in on his PERMITTED weed is unconstitutional. Those are US military forces and federal money. The state must take care of its own issues and not use military forces within the state.

    All servants of the people are required to take an oath of office. Those who dismantle the constitution or work to change it are oathbreakers and traitors. There needs to be an accounting for those acts of tyranny. Keep the 2nd amendment strong and keep the union strong. Protect and defend the constitution of the United States of America. God bless America.

    Reply

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