FBI Investigates Nevada Cannabis Licensing Process

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether illegal influence played a role in how the state’s cannabis licenses were awarded after unsuccessful applicants accused successful applicants of corruption.

Full story after the jump.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating whether illegal influence played a role in how the state’s cannabis licenses were awarded, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal report. Federal authorities have been conducting interviews over the past year to determine whether businesses or individuals attempted to sway politicians or bureaucrats with gifts, money, job offers, or campaign contributions in exchange for industry licenses.

More the 750 cannabis licenses have been awarded in the state and, of those, 335 are dual licenses for medical and recreational cannabis sales, the report says. Applicants who were not awarded licenses have, since the licenses were issued in 2019, accused successful applicants of corruption, the report says. There also have been concerns about whether cannabis companies with state lawmakers and businessmen as partners had an advantage in getting licensing or zoning for their cannabis companies.

Tyler Klimas, executive director of the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board, told the Review-Journal that he was unaware of any official investigation but wouldn’t be surprised if there was one.

“It’s all about public trust and confidence. As regulators of the state’s cannabis industry, it’s imperative that we work with our federal partners to ensure that trust and confidence extends outside of our borders and prevents any actions that could damage the state’s reputation or harm the industry.”Klimas to the Review-Journal

Public records show the state Attorney General’s Office was notified on Feb. 18, 2020, of a joint investigation by the Nevada Department of Public Safety and FBI.

Neither an FBI spokeswomen nor agent who reportedly conducted the interviews offered to comment on the investigation to the Review-Journal.

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