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Taxpayers footed bill on Noem’s cannabis ads

10/18/21--The recent medical-cannabis ads featuring Governor Kristi Noem aired at taxpayer expense. They resulted from two additions to a South Dakota Department of Health one-year contract that began June 1 and originally was for a marketing campaign to prevent abuse and misuse of opioids. The governor’s one-minute advertisement aired from June through September, a Department of Health spokesman said. Read

Legal woes of CEO’s spouse bring marijuana MSO Trulieve unwanted attention

9/9/21--The recent criminal conviction of the husband of Trulieve Cannabis CEO Kim Rivers has cast an unflattering spotlight on the multistate marijuana operator, focusing attention on how the profitable company secured its Florida business license and renewing questions about its dealings with a construction firm partly owned by Rivers’ spouse. Read

One third of Illinois craft grow licenses went to politicians and existing cannabis companies

9/7/21--At least ten of the 36 craft grow licenses awarded last month by the State of Illinois have gone to groups affiliated with existing cannabis companies, while some others went to current local politicians and a smattering of local notables. Read

A twisted tale of corruption in SLO County

7/31/21--Details of San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill's corruption became public with the plea agreement of marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring in which he gave a detailed account of his illegal activities which included paying bribes to Hill. That plea deal and information gathered during a six-year, in-depth CalCoastNews investigation exposes the dirty underbelly of SLO County’s marijuana industry. Read

Marijuana mogul charged with bribing SLO County supervisor

7/28/21--Prosecutors charged marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring with paying thousands of dollars in bribes to then-San Luis Obispo Supervisor Adam Hill for favorable votes on his cannabis business interests. Prosecutors charged Dayspring, 35, in federal court with one count of bribery and one count of filing a false 2018 income tax return that deliberately failed to report millions of dollars in income to the IRS. Read

Florida GOP chairman requests investigations into candidate Nikki Fried’s amended financial form revealing $350K in conflict of interest

6/4/21--Florida’s GOP Chairman requested Friday the state’s House and Senate investigate Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried’s amended financial disclosure form revealing $351,480 in a probable conflict of interest. Read

Lawmakers again weigh reforms to local marijuana agreements

5/11/21--On Tuesday, Massachusetts lawmakers took testimony from attorneys, entrepreneurs, and advocates who slammed the state’s local approval process for marijuana companies as little more than a form of legal extortion — one they said has allowed municipalities to collect and spend millions of dollars in unjustified fees without accountability or transparency. The virtual hearing by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy centered on a handful of proposed bills that would reform how prospective cannabis operators and local officials negotiate so-called “host community agreements.” Read

An analysis of cannabis host community agreements in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

5/14/21--Sponsored by the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association, this report reflects the research of Dr. Jeffrey Moyer of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, who independently refined research questions and designed and conducted analysis of Host Community Agreements between Massachusetts municipal governments and cannabis business operators. Read

Jury convicts ex-Fall River mayor Jasiel F. Correia II of extortion, wire fraud, filing false tax returns

5/14/21--Former ex-Fall River mayor Correia was found guilty of demanding bribes, ranging from $25,000 to $250,000, from four businessmen who needed his consent to open marijuana dispensaries and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors in SnoOwl, a smartphone app he helped create in 2013 while attending Providence College. US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled Correia’s sentencing for Sept. 20 and ordered him to wear a GPS device while he is free on bail. Read

Cities and towns have been abusing marijuana money, a gateway drug to corruption

5/11/21-- Former Fall River mayor Jasiel Correia's trial on marijuana-related corruption charges wrapped up this week, but the verdict on the state’s new marijuana law that allow cities and towns to demand payouts from would-be marijuana businesses creates an open invitation for abuse, criminal or otherwise. The state embraced marijuana legalization as a way to create economic opportunity for marginalized populations — then created a licensing system that only the deep-pocketed and well-connected can navigate. Read

Former Calexico City officials sentenced to prison for bribery

5/5/21--Former Calexico City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem David Romero, along with Bruno Suarez-Soto, a former commissioner on the city’s Economic Development and Financial Advisory Commission, were each sentenced to two years in prison today for taking bribes in exchange for “guaranteeing” a City permit for a cannabis business. Read

‘Shakedowns’ are at the center of former Fall River mayor’s federal corruption trial, prosecutors say

4/26/21--During the federal corruption trail for former Fall Rivers mayor Jasiel F. Correira II, it was stated that Correira extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from four marijuana vendors seeking to open dispensaries in the city, forced his chief of staff to give him half her salary, and stole more than $230,000 from investors in a tech start-up he created. Yet, Correia’s attorney, Kevin Reddington, told jurors Correia is not guilty of any of the 24 counts he faces and portrayed him as a victim of overzealous investigators and cooperating witnesses who are lying. Read

Ex-Maryland lawmaker gets 2 years in prison in bribery case

7/29/20--Cheryl Glenn, a former state lawmaker who helped create Maryland’s medical marijuana industry, was sentenced on Wednesday to two years in prison for taking bribes for legislative favors, including votes to benefit a medical marijuana company. Read

SEC files charges in $25 million cannabis-related offering fraud

7/29/20--The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against six individuals and their companies for defrauding investors in connection with unregistered securities offerings that raised over $25 million. Read

Boston subpoenaed by grand jury in marijuana corruption probe

11/7/19--A federal grand jury has subpoenaed the City of Boston for records of interactions between local officials and marijuana company representatives. The demand makes the city the most prominent subject yet of a wide-ranging investigation into municipal corruption by the office of US Attorney Andrew Lelling. Read