[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]L[/dropcap]ynwood City Councilmember and Mayor Pro-Tem Aide Castro was a “driving force” in approving cannabis regulations in the city two years ago, but she was recently accused of quietly making money from cannabis businesses including Weedmaps.
Castro helped Lynwood, California become one of the first cities in greater Los Angeles to approve regulations allowing cannabis businesses. But according to the Los Angeles Times, Castro didn’t report any of her cannabis-related financial dealings on state-required financial forms until recently. Earlier this year, however, Castro disclosed partnerships with two cannabis cultivation ventures.
The councilmember defended herself in an interview, explaining that she’s willing to come clean about any financial dealings. “I am trying my best to be transparent,” Castro told Los Angeles Times. “If I’m doing what’s required by law, to me I’m doing the right thing.”
The councilmember formed Candor Collections, a luxury company that markets to women, and she also runs her consulting firm that did work for cannabis companies including Weedmaps. Per California law, elected officials must report the identities of business clients within their jurisdiction who paid their companies $10,000 per year or more.
According to a Weedmaps spokesperson, the company paid Castro $93,666 in 2017. Because two companies located in Lynwood post ads on Weedmaps, it could be considered a conflict of interest. “It’s a big conflict of interest,” said Councilmember Salvador Alatorre, an opponent of allowing cannabis businesses in Lynwood.
It’s not yet clear if Castro’s business dealings actually qualify as violation of an anti-corruption law known as The Political Reform Act. Castro herself is a medical cannabis patient. After she had a thyroid gland growth removed, she turned to cannabis tea for relief. According to Castro, it’s the only thing that helps her sleep and keeps migraines away.
Castro has a long history of fighting for cannabis reform, and her history puts her in a unique position as an elected official.