California legislators are considering impeaching Gov.
Jerry Brown and a host of state officials over alleged fraud and corruption in the state’s embattled cannabis industry, but not without some resistance from some of their own ranks.
The two-term Democratic governor and former Democratic National Committee chairman are under pressure from some lawmakers to resign after a California Department of Justice report detailed widespread corruption in a booming industry where hundreds of thousands of people are working to produce the medicine that is currently legal in the U.S. under state law.
The state Attorney General’s office said it’s investigating allegations of bribery, kickbacks and money laundering.
Brown and the attorney general’s office have said they will not resign, but the state legislature could act to remove the governors’ power over their departments if the reports prove true.
One Democrat is running for governor, while another is considering a run for the Senate seat vacated by the governor.
The reports, made public by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said the state received more than $1 billion in state funding between 2015 and 2016 through the marijuana business.
It also reported that the marijuana industry has been growing at a rapid pace in the past five years, with California now home to more than 8,000 growers and nearly 200 dispensaries.
But the agency said the cannabis industry’s growth was driven by unscrupulous actors who were seeking to avoid state oversight.
The California Department, which oversees the state economy, has been working with the Attorney General to investigate alleged mismanagement and bribery by the industry, the agency wrote in the report.
“Our investigation has revealed significant corruption, kickback schemes and other misconduct that are undermining California’s efforts to protect the public health and the economic well-being of the state,” the department wrote.
Brown, who announced his intention to run for governor in 2018, said in a statement Wednesday that he’s considering a possible resignation.
He said he plans to seek a pardon to allow him to return to office.
Brown’s office declined to comment on the reports Wednesday.
But California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, issued a statement saying he’s working with his counterpart in the federal government to investigate the allegations and will file criminal charges against the three governors.
The Attorney General said his office was investigating allegations that Gov.
Brown had used state funds to pay for a private plane used by a lobbyist for a cannabis company that he used as a campaign stop for his 2018 re-election bid.
The report also said Brown’s office approved a private aircraft that had been leased from a firm that worked for a firm in which Brown was a director, and that the company paid for the plane’s fuel and maintenance, according to the report, which was written by a former California Department spokesman.
Becerras office has said it is reviewing the allegations.
The attorney general has said that he will take a look at whether the governor violated state law when he used public funds to fund a private jet that was used for a campaign rally and his wife’s wedding.
Brown did not respond to requests for comment.
The AG’s office also said the department is investigating a possible breach of state procurement law that would have allowed the cannabis company to receive nearly $5 million in federal loans.
A spokesperson for the governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.