Adelanto Mayor Pro Tem, Jermaine Wright Sr. was arrested on counts of bribery and attempted insurance fraud.
“It had to be biblically sound for me to do anything.” Jermaine Wright Sr.
Jermaine Wright Sr. is a retired pastor and has openly been hesitant about cannabis. According to LA Weekly, Wright stated that in terms of supporting cannabis, “It had to be biblically sound for me to do anything.” In that same interview printed in April 2017, Wright was also quoted as saying he’s “still not anywhere close to saying recreational is fine.” He has maintained that Adelanto is “not a weed city, we’re a city that’s found a legal mechanism to generate much-needed funds.”
This is the same man who was arrested this past Tuesday on two federal charges; bribery and arson. It is alleged that an informant in the city had tipped off the FBI that Jermaine may be open to accepting bribes. An undercover agent posing as the owner of a cannabis cultivation operation approached Mr. Wright with a deal in which, a property would be bought for low market value outside of the cultivation zoning. A news release from the U.S attorney’s office for the Central District of California has reported that Wright had agreed to receive $20,000 in exchange for him voting in favor of a measure expanding the parts of Adelanto where marijuana could be grown. After the council voted, Wright agreed to accept a second check of $15,000 to help “fast track” the undercover agents proposal.
The second charge Wright faces was tacked on when he asked the undercover FBI agent to burn down his restaurant, Fat Boyz Grill, to receive a $300,000 insurance payout.
Adelanto was once a sleepy desert city struggling to get out of the red. Mayor Kerr, who was elected before Wright, was voted into office in 2014. He had reported in the last 15 years the only growth was the addition of two dollar stores that earned the city $7,000 per year. When Kerr took over, Adelanto was $2.6 million in the hole.
Forty percent of the city’s population lived below the poverty line. It wasn’t until January of 2015 that Freddy Sayegh, an entertainment and cannabis lawyer started pitching the idea to the city of allowing cannabis cultivation. With a strong resistance from the elementary school district superintendent, the city decided to allow cannabis cultivation on an industrial scale.
City councils in legal cannabis states across the U.S have seemed to struggle with the amount of money marijuana can bring in. This arrest is just the tip of the iceberg as citizens have been railroaded by cities in order for council members to cash in on the Green Rush. Let this be a harsh lesson to dirty councilmen across the country. Dirty councilmen who are hesitant to support cannabis- allow cultivation, dispensaries, testing facilities or the like into their city- that is until they can directly receive a benefit. Remember that as a councilman, your duty is to serve the communities, and the truth is that communities deserve access to cannabis.