Paso Robles man accused of trafficking cannabis

January 20, 2023


A Paso Robles man is headed to trial following an arrest for allegedly trafficking black market cannabis on Interstate 44 in Missouri.

On Thursday, Silvestre Avila Villanueva, 31, waived a preliminary trial. The court then set Avila Villanueva’s trial for Feb. 26, according to Yahoo News.

On Oct. 7, 2022, a state trooper pulled Avila Villanueva over for following to closely. After determining he appeared nervous, the trooper searched Avila Villanueva trunk and found 20.5 pounds of marijuana.

A juvenile passenger in the back seat told the trooper he was unaware of the cannabis in the trunk, leading prosecutors to include a charge of child endangerment against Avila Villanueva.

Avila Villanueva, 31, is facing charges of possession and delivery of a controlled substance and child endangerment.

San Luis Obispo County is gaining a reputation as a hot spot for black market cannabis. In 2021, deputies in Nebraska arrested a Paso Robles teen caught trafficking 145 pounds of cannabis on Interstate 80.

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The financial and regulatory barriers to enter the legal cannabis market (which are all imposed by the government) keep the black market alive. There are zero financial/regulatory barriers to entering the black cannabis market, while it costs hundreds-of-thousands (if not millions) of dollars to enter the legal cannabis market.

Once established in the legal cannabis market, cannabis taxes act as an additional incentive to take your chances on the black market. Currently, SLO County charges 8% of all cannabis revenue generated by legal cannabis companies in the County. Assuming a 40% profit margin (which will vary from company to company,) an 8% revenue tax translates to a 20% tax on profit. That’s exorbitant. Keep in mind, the legal company still has to pay income tax to the State and Federal Governments.

Certain cities and towns within the County allow brick-and-mortar cannabis retail, but the County doesn’t allow it in the unincorporated areas, further reducing opportunities for legal cannabis income generation.

Want to eliminate the black cannabis market? Stop making it impossible to make a buck in the legal one.

It is a reasonable assumption that the transporters are connected to Helios Daysprings’ organized crime group, given that the majority – if not all – of the cannabis currently grown in San Luis Obispo County is connected to Dayspring, Megan’s Organic Market, and SLOCAL Roots, which have been implicated in a City of San Luis Obispo permitting fraud.

Adam Hill is not dead, his legacy lives on.

Cannabis is legal, in some form, everywhere in the US except Kansas, Nebraska and Idaho, and I bet you it is in those states … everywhere. Hopeless fight

Yes, same as alcohol, the issue is the taxes.