FBI seeks tips on corruption in the marijuana industry

August 18, 2019

The FBI announced on Thursday it is seeking tips on public corruption involving marijuana businesses. Currently, agents have found corruption primary localized in western states where recreation cannabis has been legalized. [Cal Coast Times]

In San Luis Obispo County, government employees and marijuana business insiders have accused public officials of pay-to-play in providing permits for cultivation and retail shops.

“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,” FBI Public Affairs Specialist Mollie Halpern said on a short podcast. “The corruption is more prevalent in western states where the licensing is decentralized—meaning the level of corruption can span from the highest to the lowest level of public officials.”

As legal recreational marijuana use expands, FBI analyst David Kirschner said to expect the corruption problem to increase.

“It’s our role as the FBI to help to ensure that the corruption doesn’t spread in this new industry,” Kirschner said.

Halpern ends the podcast with a plea to listeners who “suspect a dispensary is operating with an illegally obtained license, or suspect public corruption in the marijuana industry, contact your local FBI field office.”

Last Individual

Uh oh. It looks like somebody forgot to send the FBI their share of the loot.


Their phones are going to be flooded…hopefully they will follow up on the leads. Specific City Council and County Supervisors should be very worried, the game is up!


I would like to think the FBI is serious about the problem of public corruption and the marijuana industry but I am afraid it is so widespread that they would be about as effective as some guy trying to empty Lake Nacimiento with a tablespoon.


There is no way the FBI has the resources to investigate even a fraction of the state and local corruption. Since San Luis Obispo is the hotbed of corruption in the Country they should start here first. I’m waiting for the FBI report on Andrew Holland’s death in SLO jail. The must have forgotten about it. The FBI is spread so thin these days that they don’t have the time to investigate crimes that involve the state of mind of the suspect and are caused by a drug that is against federal law. They would have to arrest the dispensary owners and employees and the customers of the dispensaries ( you too, there is a record of every purchase you made), So, about 25,000 people need to be arrested.

The job then goes to the attorney general who is probably getting his share of the action to turn his back. Besides if he did anything it would be racist like everything else.

So, why the announcement? To strike fear in the beast. Heidi and her buds will not sleep well for quite sometime. Heidi they’re coming for you first!


Since they are spread thin, they will go after the big fish. They won’t waste time on the businesses that are playing by state rules. They will go after those who are crooks on the state level, too.


If the FBI is asking for MORE INFO, they know.

Time to pay the piper cheating SB and SLO officials. Be sure not to shred any paperwork.


What is so different about this from other for profit, legal, industries? Just add it to FBI’’s watch.

They should, and most likely are, just as worried about corrupt builders.

Corruption in business isn’t new.

This is a non story really.

It’ll work up a lot of frenzy though that is for sure.

How about you create a list of local political contributors and compare them by industry? That would be interesting and informative without being inflammatory like this piece is intending to do.


I agree that an analysis of political contributors compared by industry would be enlightening. While it is true that corruption in business, or any endeavor, isn’t new, what harms us all is the degree of corruption. It is off the charts in SLO County and in the cannabis business state-wide. Anyone wanting to make it better should not dismiss this rare opportunity to do so by rationalizing that it happens everywhere. Failing to speak truth gives power to the corrupt.


Call me when quid quo pro is unearthed. Hasn’t happened yet.

That’s what the FBI wants tips on. Not suspicions.


Now who would have thunk it. That our outstanding (and overpaid) ‘public’ officials would actually do something so corrupt as to take bribes from the legal recreational marijuana dealers. Geez!


Dear FBI,

I highly recommend that you investigate Heidi Harmon, Adam Hill, Aaron Gomez, Carlyn Christianson, Miriam Shah, Barbara Nichols, Jeff Lee, Karen Ray Rossum, and Dawn Addis for their too cozy relationship with drug dealers, and they all took drug dealer money to fund their political campaigns.

What did the drug dealers get out of it?

Heidi Harmon and her ilk rigged the marijauna dispensary dealership processto help her drug dealer friends, and this helped them get a monopoly WORTH MILLIONS on the local legal drug trade. This nefarious illegal political quid pro quo represents corruption and graft under state and federal law, and I believe that, in the end, Heidi Harmon will be locked up in prison.

Oh, by the way, local law enforcement figures (people like Deanna Cantrell, are knee deep in debt to Heidi Harmon, so DO NOT fill them in about the details of the investigation, they will tip Harmon off about pending indictments, etc. Also, the local progressive crowd doesn’t believe in due process or search warrants either, so don’t bother with the formalities of the legal process.

Arrest Harmon ASAP.


Please add John Shoals to the list. He’s gone from politics now (thank God) but taught Jeff Lee all he needed in order to keep the agenda moving forward.


Shoals is not gone. He is in thick. He has been carefully positioned as a planning supervisor in Santa Barbara County, giving the crooks of SLO County a foothold in their neighboring county. He can be seen about town (Grover) meeting with the local politicos and cannabis kings.


You left off the grandfather of taking bribes…John Shoals!


Well how about starting with putting Adam Hill and Helium Daysprung under oath and see what tips they blurb out.


The rats will turn on one another. Most of the politicos are big crybabies and will rat out the others unless their cowardice extends further to fear of physical violence or going cold turkey when their free cocaine or family cannabis supply dries up.