Recently, the federal government’s grand jury issued a subpoena to the City of Boston to get records from them concerning the cannabis industry. This was to investigate a possible cannabis corruption in the state of Massachusetts. This federal action has resulted in the City of Boston being the most recent municipality in a serious of others that is being investigated and explored by the office of Andrew Lelling, U.S. Attorney.
The Initial Target
The first target by the Office of the U.S. Attorney is City Hall as Andrew Lelling starts to unfold cannabis corruption in an in-depth investigation. The grand jury subpoena is only the start to acquire records from city officials and their dealings and handling of recreational marijuana. The operation is suspect according to the federal government. This subpoena makes the City of Boston just one more addition to the list of cities and towns being investigated in the state of Massachusetts. This probe by the federal government means that prominent officials have to provide paperwork and details to show that the investigation is not valid. In this case, the investigation is into community agreements, which would show details of payments made between marijuana dispensaries and their municipalities.
This new cannabis corruption subpoena in Boston follows one that was served to Mayor Jasiel Correla in Fall River. He was subsequently indicted for extortion charges associated with marijuana dispensaries. Correla was alleged to have accepted bribes from pot shops totaling around $600.000 in cash payments. Correla was arrested in September and since then the Federal government and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts have been concerned about possible marijuana bribes or cannabis corruption in various communities.
According to the Boston Globe, the subpoena for cannabis corruption appears to be similar to the ones issued to several other towns and cities in Massachusetts. The issue right now is that marijuana companies must reach community agreements with towns, cities and municipalities to host their pot shop that they want to legally operate. It is mandatory that these agreements be signed prior to the issuing of marijuana licenses to distributors, retailers, cultivators and manufacturers.
The city of Boston in the investigation of cannabis corruption is mandated to produce records that include the community agreements, unsigned initial drafts and all direct communications between city officials and these marijuana companies. The feds are also asking for email commun9ications among the city’s employees related to the same community agreements. Records are also needed to show community support or possible proposal opposition to operating cannabis facilities. The records that relate to winning cannabis permits or being employed to a cannabis firm are also being sought. The feds are also seeking records from entities closely associated with city government and this would include the Mayor Marty Walsh, his administration, his executive agencies and city council members along with their staff.
The city is being given until the 14th of November 2019 to be in compliance with the above mentioned subpoena. All business owners who have placed an application for a cannabis license in the city of Boston will have their documents and records examined by the feds and the office of the U.S. Attorney. A letter was sent to the city officials as to exactly what is needed. The letter also asked that everything be kept confidential. The confidentiality is meant to preserve and respect the investigation’s integrity until it can be resolved. Cities and towns across the state of Massachusettsare scrambling to meet the November 14th deadline. If not met, these same cities and towns could be in violation of the subpoena and there are consequences for this. City officials are aware of this and so they will try hard to meet the deadline. We will wait to see what happens. Stay tuned!