Massachusetts Mayor Jasiel Correia II extorted cannabis businesses that were seeking licenses to operate in Massachusetts—now he’s been temporarily relieved of duty.
On September 6, 2019, the 27-year-old mayor of Fall River, MA was arrested and charged with extorting cannabis vendors for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and cannabis. The Fall River City Council voted to temporarily replace Correia on September 10. He has been charged with bribery, extortion conspiracy, extortion and aiding and abetting, wire fraud, and filing false tax returns.
According to the indictment, Correia agreed to receive kickbacks for issuing non-opposition letters to cannabis vendors. Such letters are required in order to operate a cannabis business in Massachusetts.
Cannabis has been legal in Massachusetts for recreational use since December 2016, but retail sales in the state didn’t begin until November 2018. There are currently 26 dispensaries operating in the state, all of which were approved by local government officials. Correia was solely responsible for approving the letters for the town of Fall River.
Correia is no stranger to controversy. He was charged with 13 criminal counts of wire fraud and filing false tax returns in 2018, but refused to resign. If found guilty, he potentially faces decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.