US marijuana regulators are showing their dark side
TAKE a black-market business that relies on cash. Move the business out of the shadows by giving it government oversight. Hire new regulators to keep watch on the business, all without any experience regulating a brand-new industry.
The result can be a recipe for government corruption.
Recent cases in Colorado and Washington are the first known instances of current or former pot regulators being accused of having improper dealings with the industry. The two recreational marijuana states are the nation’s oldest, approving legal weed in defiance of federal law in 2012.
A pair of cases several years into the legal-weed experiment might not seem like much, but they give a black eye to all marijuana regulators and fuel old fears about the criminal element’s influence.
In a case that has caught the US Justice Department’s attention, former Colorado marijuana enforcement officer Renee Rayton is accused of helping pot growers raise plants for illegal out-of-state sales.
State investigators say the marijuana warehouse inspector quit her job last year and immediately went to work for the illegal pot ring, taking an $8 000-a-month job.
A June 7 indictment says Rayton told the pot growers she could help them “get legal” through her contacts. – AP