Monday, August 26, 2019

FBI warns of 'public corruption threat' in legal marijuana industry

Posted By on Mon, Aug 26, 2019 at 12:12 PM

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Thousands of people are maneuvering to get a piece of what’s expected to be Michigan’s $1.5 billion legal marijuana industry.

Everyone knows money is a magnet for public corruption, so it’s no surprise the FBI is getting involved in the industry.

“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 recent podcast released by the FBI. “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.”

Halpern urged listeners to call their local FBI field offices if they suspect public corruption.

FBI scrutiny “actually can be a good thing,” California cannabis attorney Henry Wykowski, a former federal prosecutor, told Marijuana Business Daily. “I think some people are taking advantage of the industry, and we’re entitled to the same protection other industries receive.”

Michigan voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana in November.

The first recreational marijuana dispensaries are expected to begin opening later this year and in early 2020.

Earlier this year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created the Marijuana Regulatory Agency to handle the licensing, regulation, and oversight of medical and recreational cannabis businesses.

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