Asm. Garcia Request Statewide Task Force on Cannabis

(Sacramento) – Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) today released the following statement regarding the request to the Department of Justice for the creation of a Cannabis Task force.

For immediate release:

“I have request that the California Department of Justice create a Statewide Task Force on Cannabis but focus the first part of the investigation in Southeast Los Angeles County. This task force should evaluate the contracting practices, cannabis licensing procedures, and related issues of the contracting of cities in Southeast Los Angeles County (SELA) and other regions of the state that warrant additional oversight.”

“I have been a proponent of legalizing and regulating the cannabis market, and was a signatory for Proposition 64, which legalized Cannabis in California.  We need to ensure we eliminate the black market and ensure the local level process is legitimate, fair, and not fraught with corruption. Creating the Statewide Cannabis Task Force will help to ensure that.”

“Due to continued reporting from the LA Times1,2 and documents released from the U.S. Attorney’s office, there is reason to be concerned about the cannabis licensing procedures in many jurisdictions throughout the state. In fact, various news sources have reported on pay-to-play schemes in several SELA cities. Many of the cities in SELA contract for a variety of services, including cannabis licensing.  It is well-documented that many of these cities have not had the taxpayers’ best interests in mind when awarding contracts for services. In fact, the contracting issues are so problematic that the region is often referred to as the “corridor of corruption.”

“I've been worried for a while about corruption with cannabis licensing procedures which is why I've asked for audits in the past. Corruption and pay-to-play schemes erode the trust in our government and is bad for our democratic process.”

“Much of why I am elected to this office is based on my fight against malfeasance and corruption in our local government and to ensure accountability of our taxpayers’ dollars both in Sacramento and in my local region. During my tenure in office, a number of southeast cities and local governments have made headlines over their contracting and cannabis practices. The Cities of Commerce, Huntington Park, Maywood, Montebello, Cudahy, Vernon, and the Central Basin Municipal Water Districts have each been audited or identified by the State Auditor as high-risk municipalities or agencies that pose significant financial and organizational risks or have made headlines for questionable practices.”

“This task force, if established by the Attorney General’s office, can root out corruption and provide a roadmap for future cannabis licensing in the state.”

###

The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.

1- https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-10-15/southern-california-weed-licensing-corruption
2- https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-15/cannabis-corruption-threats-secret-financial-deals-politicians

 

View Press Release via the PDF
View Letter to Attorney General Rob Bonta requesting a Cannabis Task Force via the PDF