In the two years since California legalized recreational marijuana, a half-a-dozen government corruption prosecutions alleging California cannabis-related official bribery, fraud and other crimes have been reported. The causal dynamics are in dispute. Those who were always opposed to legalization are saying, “I told you so,” while proponents of the legal market blame the clash between state-and-federal law, the patchwork of city laws and a glut of cannabis crop fueling the black-market because the legal market is too difficult to gain entry.
Los Angeles cannabis defense attorneys recognize the difficult state in which many marijuana businesses find themselves. Many are bogged down by too much supply and onerous product testing requirements, leaving them either forced to take a financial loss or turn to the black market. Some try getting their foot in the door to legal sales, but do it trying to buy silence or support from those with power and influence.
In one instance detailed by The Los Angeles Times on the issue, federal investigators launched an investigation after a sheriff from Siskiyou County reported receiving an offer of $1 million from a man allegedly operating several illegal marijuana farms. The man suggested it could go to a foundation the sheriff spear-headed. When the man tried to make his down payment with tens of thousands of dollars stuffed into envelopes, federal authorities swooped in. The man was later indicted on federal bribery charges.