Results Released in Alleged Cannabis Corruption Investigation

[Disclaimer as of 2/28/22: At the request of LA Magazine, their articles have been retracted and any associated links have been removed. For further information read our latest update here. The original article is available in its entirety below.]

Source: Santa Barbara Police Department

Chief Melekian is releasing the report of an Independent Investigation conducted by the Sintra Group in response to the allegations raised by an article published by LA Magazine on March 12th. The investigation focused on whether a City employee, Anthony Wagner, had a conflict of interest with a commercial cannabis storefront applicant, GSG SBCA, Inc. dba Golden State Greens, while serving as a member of the City’s Cannabis Application Review Team.   In addition, the investigation also examined whether Golden State Greens received any preferential treatment in the application process. 
Investigators Chuck Hookstra and Robert Velasquez concluded that Mr. Wagner did not have a conflict of interest with Golden State Greens nor did Golden State Greens receive any preferential treatment as they initially finished fourth in the application process.  Only the top three applicants received a license to operate a dispensary in Santa Barbara. Golden State Greens eventually received a license, but only when one of the top three finishers was disqualified because their location was within 1000 feet from a higher-ranking applicant.  Santa Barbara Municipal Code Section 9.44.280 (A) requires dispensaries to be at least 1000 feet from one another.
Mr. Wagner was fully cooperative during this investigation.

[The full report is provided below under “Related Document”]


 March 14, 2021: Investigative Journalist Hints at Santa Barbara City Corruption

 March 15, 2021: Deciphering the Bombshell LA Magazine Piece that Just Hit City Hall

 March 15, 2021: Santa Barbara City Employee Placed on Administrative Leave Following Article

 March 17, 2021: Lots of Innuendo but Little Substance in Los Angeles Magazine Article

 March 18, 2021: Santa Barbara Officials Respond to Claims in LA Magazine Article

 March 22, 2021: Santa Barbara Police Department Hires Firm to Investigate Employee

 March 24, 2021: Los Angeles Magazine Issues Retraction for Cannabis Corruption Article

 March 29, 2021: Op-Ed: Journalist Corrects the Record on LA Magazine Article


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  1. Not guilty…blow me over with a feather. The guy is still a jerk, still taking a salary to do nothing, still accused of abusing immigrant business owners and still so incompetent, even our incompetent mayor wants nothing to do with him.

  2. Like the Judge asked the City Attorney, ” How should I rule on this?”. All government employees are team players riding on the team bus. When one player gets into trouble, the team “coach” says to stay on the bus and do not talk to anyone. A team member must be true to the team, right? And a team must be paid well, right?

  3. Hogwash. baloney, malarkey, as as their top leader would say, “come on man…”
    Sintra Group owner: Steve Bowman spent nearly 28 years with the Ventura Police Department, retiring as Assistant Police Chief.

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