California Launches Crackdown on Cannabis Industry Corruption in Response to Ongoing Concerns

0.9 min readPublished On: March 23rd, 2023By

LOS ANGELES–In response to persistent corruption concerns in California’s cannabis industry, the state government is launching a new crackdown in several jurisdictions that have not yet been identified. This move follows allegations of bribery, pay-to-play schemes, and other wrongdoing at the city and county level.

State Auditor Grant Parks informed California lawmakers on Wednesday that auditors would be reviewing a sample of cannabis business permits to investigate any discrepancies. The objective is to uncover evidence of corruption, which has been a prevalent issue even before the state’s recreational cannabis market began in 2018.

During a hearing on Wednesday, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer emphasized the need for the state to take corruption seriously to regain public trust. The California Cannabis Industry Association applauded the action, stating that the current licensing process, which requires local approval before state permits are granted, contributes to corruption and local gatekeeping.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson further suggested that there is a pervasive “undercurrent of misconduct” in California’s cannabis licensing system, and he recommended that his hometown of Fresno be included in the state investigation.

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