Most places aren't really doing their reform roll outs in the most sensible way.
When legalization relies on expensive, highly limited licenses to get in on what are state-allowed "oligopolies" (a monopoly with more than one "kingpin" company, but one of only a few – so a "shared monopoly" in essence), opportunities for corruption are pre-baked into the reform cake, and human nature being what it is, stories like this one are pretty much guaranteed to surface.
We hope our local press stays vigilant about all of the goings on around the approval and regulation of the states' (to date) eight growers, and proposed 12 dispensaries, a very tight near monopoly. So with lots of money at stake, there's a lot of incentive both for businessmen wanting an edge to crack a market where just being skilled at offering to a useful service at a professional level isn't nearly enough to secure an opportunity to be in that market, and for pols and bureaucrats who are often only all too willing to sell access (that never belonged to them).
Part of a working solution to these issues is to democratize business access to the point where access doesn't warrant a big bribe because it's just not all that difficult to get, but here in Utah we're moving in the exact opposite direction.
So this case was clearly criminal, however, at a "softer" (but still felonious, though harder to prove) level, we start to see issues around people getting flush with cannabis on the basis of "knowing the right people who know the right people."
And here, we've had personal experience with how intertwined the possible awarding of "favorites" can get in a compact closed system, where it seems like everyone vying to be connected to Utah's exclusive power club knows someone who knows someone.
Whenever serious crimes may happen in the political oversight of the Utah program (if it happens, of course and we hope it doesn't), don't expect us to be surprised given the path the state has chosen to follow….
Massachusetts mayor arrested for extorting marijuana vendors for 6-figure bribes
Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, 27, is accused of getting marijuana vendors approved in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.