Why the Feds are Investigating Medical Cannabis in Missouri

Federal officers are seeking details as recently as Summer 2020 about medicinal cannabis licensing in Missouri and third-party contracts in Independence, MO that has drawn FBI scrutiny for the last few years.

That’s per the sworn deposition testimony via a Kansas City-area businessperson that emerged publicly at the beginning of the month.

The deposition of Joseph Campbell, proprietor of the real estate expansion firm Titan Fish, was performed in November as part of a concurrent defamation case he and his company brought forth in 2020 opposite the City of Independence and two city council associates. Passages of the deposition became available last week after they were put forth in Jackson County Circuit Court by Independence’s lawyers.

Campbell reveals that agents representing the FBI, IRS, and the Justice Department’s public integrity agency questioned him on July 13, 2021.

Per Campbell’s deposition, the inquiries concentrated on his involvement with a pair of utility agreements in Independence and medicinal cannabis permits in Missouri—the newest sign that a potentially broad spectrum of public corruption may be happening in Missouri.

Campbell, in his deposition, noted the FBI wanted to talk to him on multiple occasions but hadn’t as of the time he gave his testimony.

Campbell also told the Independence courts that Gov. Mike Parson’s (R-MO) name was brought up during the dialogue. However, the deposition transcript that was brought forth earlier this month in Jackson County Circuit Court does not encompass Campbell’s complete testimony—roughly 25 pages of at least 170 pages were formed—and does not go further into why some of the names like Parson and others were discussed.

Campbell’s lawyers filed an action to suppress the manuscript two days after it occurred in the public record, debating that it should not have been put forth due to the deposition isn’t yet finished. Campbell did not yield requests for a discussion and his lawyer, Mark McFarland, refused to discuss the issue.

Neither Campbell nor any of the individuals he was asked about during his consultation last summer have been charged with any malfeasance regarding Independence or Missouri political affairs. Campbell frequently said during his deposition that his only involvement in the FBI’s Independence probe is as a federal witness.

A spokesman for the FBI revealed the agency could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

The documents provide a new glimpse into an FBI probe that’s swept the state and local politics ever since news of it materialized in 2019.

In 2017, Campbell purchased the former Rockwood Golf Course in Independence from a group that had owned it for many years. Months later, the Independence City Council vowed to purchase the golf course from his real estate enterprise, Titan Fish, for almost $1 million, close to twice what he paid to buy the property. The land was used to create a solar farm.

The sale drew criticism over a series of grants and gifts to Weir only hours before she voted with the majority of council individuals to approve the sale. The gifts came from four political action committees linked to Tilley, former state legislators and longtime friend and advisor to the governor.

Tilley’s lobbying agency symbolizes Independence’s electric utility and the business that chose to function as the solar farm.

Weir has rejected any wrongdoing in relation to the gifts.

Campbell’s account reveals he is also linked to the other Independence utility contract from 2017 that has obtained FBI scrutiny: The deconstruction of the power plant in Missouri City held by Independence Power & Light.

The Independence City Council bestowed a St. Louis agency called Environmental Operations Inc. a $10 million accord to deconstruct the area, even though another bidder proposed to do the job for nearly half of that.

A preponderance of the Independence City Council authorized the arrangement, notwithstanding the opposition from a few council members and a committee that supervises the city-owned utility.

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