Lessons from the Downfall of the California Coast’s 'King of Cannabis'
<![CDATA[California’s coastal “King of Cannabis,” Helios Dayspring, owner of a San Luis Obispo cannabis cultivation site, supplier to many licensed California dispensaries, and founder of Central California’s Natural Healing Center dispensary, was sentenced to a 22-month prison sentence, in a downtown Los Angeles federal courtroom May 27.Dayspring was also ordered to pay almost $3.5 million in back taxes to the IRS from years of unreported cannabis business income. Dayspring, over a three-year period starting in 2016, bribed a San Luis Obispo county supervisor with money, free cannabis, and fancy meals, so that the local government official would vote in favor of policies which favored Dayspring’s San Luis Obispo cannabis farm and his Grover Beach, California retail outlet. RELATED: Q: What’s a Cannabis Operator to Do to Get Ahead Without Getting Indicted?Dayspring’s cannabis corruption machinations were discovered after federal authorities began a multi-year investigation into local government corruption up the California coast. California’s “Central District” federal prosecutors oversee the most-populated federal district in the nation covering some 40,000 square miles and 19 million inhabitants.Why did the feds in this vast Central District, home to 19 million inhabitants and covering 40,000 square miles, single out Dayspring? They were investigating corruption, not cannabis.Even though cannabis production and distribution is legal in California, it remains illegally federally. But it was not cannabis that put the authorities on the scent. It was because Dayspring acted “corruptly” by using money, cannabis and free food, to influence a local public office holder. Not understood by some, the feds have broad jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute cases at the local and state level—so long as there is a “federal interest.” Bribery of a state or local official is a federal crime where the locality or the state has received in excess of $10,000 for any federal program (which could be…
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