The FBI’s announcement that it is probing public corruption in the legal marijuana industry has stirred up strong reactions among cannabis insiders.

While some complain the FBI’s scrutiny is another example of how the legal MJ industry is being unfairly targeted as if it’s a bottomless gold mine, others welcome the feds’ attention to illicit influence on licensing decisions.

Cannabis legal experts also said the issue underscores the need for regulatory regimes that, as much as possible, can cordon off the political backstreets to lucrative business licenses.


“Apparently, the FBI is re-creating fables about our industry,” said Steve Schain, a senior attorney at Hoban Law Group in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“Unless you’ve been in the industry for only 15 seconds, you may be ignorant to the fact that a license is not a guarantee of printing money.”

Schain emphasized he isn’t saying corruption doesn’t exist.

But he added that, in any political or business process, “the potential of pay-to-play exists. The question remains: Why is the FBI once again targeting legalized marijuana?”

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