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When Proposition 64 passed in 2016, proponents argued that the marijuana industry would be thrust into the spotlight and legal business owners would operate in a system that would hold them accountable. The public, in other words, would know the names and the people behind local dispensaries and growhouses and manufacturing facilities because they’d need the approval of state and local officials.

But Jesse Marx reports that a local lawsuit reveals how the financial interests behind those businesses can remain hidden.

A San Diego businessman with past ties to the illegal market is claiming in court to be the rightful owner of the Balboa Avenue Cooperative and several other related marijuana businesses. He alleges that his business partner who was the public face of the operation tried to push him out.

Silent investors appear to be more common in the legal marijuana industry than is known or discussed.

The president of the National Cannabis Bar Association told Marx that ownership disputes in which one person goes through the regulatory process and another doesn’t are “extremely prevalent” for three reasons: Some investors don’t want their families to know they’re associated with marijuana, some have ties to publicly traded companies and others have criminal records.

Brown Signs His Last Bills as Gov

Sunday was the last day for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign bills passed by the state Legislature. Some of the highlights:

  • In signing a bill requiring at least one woman on corporate boards of public companies headquartered in California, Brown acknowledged the bill will be challenged in court, but wrote “recent events in Washington, D.C. and beyond make it clear many are not getting the message.”
  • Brown personally broke the heart of VOSD editor Scott Lewis by vetoing Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s bill to fix the online system by which people can reserve campsites.
  • He signed two major police transparency bills that will open up some police misconduct records and certain body camera footage.

Azano Case Still Following Dumanis

The Union-Tribune editorial board published the transcripts and audio recording of its interviews with county supervisor candidates Bonnie Dumanis and Nathan Fletcher.

Significant portions of Dumanis’ interview revolved — as did our podcast interview with her in May — around the Jose Susumo Azano Matsura case. The Mexican billionaire was convicted of illegally contributing to San Diego campaigns, including Dumanis’ mayoral run, and the U-T pressed Dumanis on why she wrote a letter of recommendation for Azano’s son.

She said recommendations were not uncommon for her to sign while in office, and that one was put in front of her by someone else. “I’m embarrassed about the fact that I took it from somebody who I trusted, and I changed my procedures after that,” she said.

Politics Roundup

  • On the podcast, Scott Lewis, Sara Libby and Andrew Keatts talk about the race for City Council District 8, where newcomers Vivian Moreno and Antonio Martinez are competing for the seat being vacated by David Alvarez. One point of difference between them: housing.
  • An upstart faction in the Democratic Party forced officials to reconsider their support for San Diego City Council President Myrtle Cole. She held onto the endorsement, but progressive activists aired a number of grievances, including Cole’s stalling of police reforms. The District 4 city race was the subject of another podcast episode in September.
  • Proposition 10, the statewide ballot initiative allowing local governments to institute rent control policies, has become a divisive topic among Democrats. Two of San Diego’s most prominent lawmakers say they won’t be weighing in. In a statement to VOSD, Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins encouraged “Californians to read their county voter guide carefully.”
  • The U-T editorial board endorsed Ammar Campa-Najjar in the 50th Congressional District and said ads produced by Rep. Duncan Hunter, suggesting that Campa-Najjar was part of a radical Muslim plot to infiltrate the federal government, were “despicable.”

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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