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Former California Lt. Gov. Investigated for Illegal Cannabis Operation

Former California Lt. Gov. Investigated for Illegal Cannabis Operation
PHOTO Lyndon 1970


Former California Lt. Gov. Investigated for Illegal Cannabis Operation

Former state lawmaker leased land to a marijuana cultivator.

If there is a scientific handicapping method for predicting the decline of marijuana prohibition in the United States, it is studying the evolution of attitudes slowly being shot out of the backside of the Republican Party. It was not that long ago that former House Speaker John Boehner announced that he was finally in favor of legalizing marijuana at the national level, after years of suggesting that a move of this magnitude would destroy America. Even at the local level, elephant-eared political forces are finding ways to capitalize on legal weed. Some of these activities are legal, while others maybe not so much.

Former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado is one of those who might be playing both sides of the market. He is currently under investigation for allegedly running an illegal cannabis operation in San Luis Obispo County, according to a report from The Tribune.

It seems that someone snitched him out to the local Sheriff’s Office, which in a follow-up visit uncovered what “appears to be in excess of 30 acres of what appears to be cannabis,” Code Enforcement Supervisor Art Trinidade told the news source. But workers associated with the farm told police that the plants were industrial hemp, not weed. A separate report indicates that the plants were too young to confirm this with any level of accuracy.

But Maldonado, who was recently considered by President Trump to take over as Secretary of Agriculture, admits to being a part of the cannabis trade. The Republican who is now out of office has leased four acres in Santa Maria to a state-licensed medical marijuana cultivator, reports the Santa Barbara Independent. The right-hand man to former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2010 to 2011 says his stance on marijuana “has evolved” and he is no longer doing to “Republican Party two-step where cannabis” is “concerned.” He is completely onboard with Trump’s position on allowing states to decide which course to take with respect to this plant, and he is adamantly opposed to the anti-pot message spewed by his attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

Maldonado, who also farms other hot ticket commodities, credits his learning more about the therapeutic benefits of marijuana for his change of heart. But that doesn’t mean he has gone full-blown cannabis aficionado or anything. He “never” uses weed personally, he told the Independent.

“I grow broccoli, too, but I don’t eat that either,” he added.

The Republican has not yet acknowledged any involvement in the 30 acres of either hemp or cannabis growing on his property. County enforcers have demanded proof that the crop is, in fact, industrial hemp before “we wash our hands” of the case, Trinidade said.

Although a hemp crop could get a pass from San Luis Obispo County, as it is sort of a “gray area” that falls under the controls of state law, a cannabis crop would be a different story altogether. In fact, it would be considered a criminal offense. In accordance with the state’s marijuana law, each county must green light prospective marijuana operations. There have been no cannabis cultivation sites approved by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. If the plants are hemp, Maldonado is not exactly free and clear. The crop would need to be affiliated with a state research facility in order for it to be considered legal. Real trouble could follow if it’s not.

“We have to cross that bridge when we come to it,” Trinidade said.

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