Lynwood Councilwoman Faces Scrutiny Over Ties to Marijuana Industry

In December of 2017, Lynwood became one of the first cities in L.A County to embrace commercial marijuana. The decision was thanks in no small part to the efforts of Councilwoman Aide Castro, one of the leading proponents of legal marijuana in the city. Castro claims her own personal experiences with medical cannabis have helped shape her support for drug. But a new investigation by the Los Angeles Times raises questions about a more self-serving motive.

“In February, Castro announced the formation of Candor Collections, a marijuana partnership that markets cannabis to women,” the Times reports.

“In recent years, she has also run her own consulting firm that does work for cannabis businesses, including Weedmaps, one of the nation’s most popular pot advertising platforms. She has never listed Weedmaps or any other clients on her state financial reports.”

Neither of these ventures, which earned Castro millions of dollars, were disclosed on state financial forms until this year. She started recusing herself from marijuana-related votes just prior but reportedly continued to discuss — and sometimes criticize — council votes on marijuana behind the scenes.

According to the Times, Castro also denied that she was paid $10,000 or more for her consulting work, which is threshold for reporting. Weedmaps later confirmed it paid Castro $93,666 in 2017. When confronted, Castro said she was unaware of the disclosure requirement and was now amending her forms. Her consulting work for Weedmaps just happened to coincide with council votes on marijuana delivery businesses and other cannabis policy matters in which Castro took part.

Advocating for commercial marijuana while consulting for cannabis businesses is “clearly unethical,” Political Reform Act co-author Bob Stern told the Times. He couldn’t say whether Castro has broken the law without further information. But “if it’s not against the law, we should change the law,” he said.

Read more here.