A bipartisan group of 50 members of Congress sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland last week demanding answers from the Department of Justice on reports of illegal Chinese-owned marijuana operations across the nation.
The entire Maine congressional delegation signed onto the letter, with Democratic CD2 Rep. Jared Golden leading the letter alongside Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), David Valado (R-Calif.), and Sens. Angus King (I-Maine) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).
Maine’s delegation has been calling for federal action to be taken against the network of illegal Chinese-owned marijuana grows in the state since last summer, when the Daily Caller first broke the story.
Since that time, the Maine Wire has investigated and identified over two hundred illicit Chinese-owned grows throughout the state, and Maine law enforcement have conducted over 15 raids on suspected grows, resulting in the seizure of more than 18,000 illegally grown marijuana plants.
So far, the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland have issued no public comments about the vast foreign criminal network that has proliferated throughout rural Maine.
“Chinese organized crime has no place in ME,” Rep. Golden said in a statement regarding the letter Wednesday. “That’s why [Sen. King] and I are leading a bicameral, bipartisan coalition of 50 lawmakers to push the DOJ for answers — and action — on these illegal marijuana operations in our state and across the country.”
“Mainers deserve to know what the DOJ is doing about potential [Chinese Communist Party] criminals in our own backyards,” Golden continued. “I’m glad the state police have started making arrests, and will keep pushing the feds to prioritize the issue.”
The bipartisan letter references reports of thousands of illicit Chinese marijuana growing operations nationwide, which the lawmakers say “pose a direct threat to public safety, human rights, national security, and the addiction crisis gripping our nation.”
The lawmakers wrote that there is substantial evidence pointing to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) involvement in supporting the illicit grows, and that the sites are tied to Asian transnational criminal organizations.
Citing a similar illegal Chinese-owned marijuana grow network recently uncovered in Oklahoma, the lawmakers expressed their concerns over the growers being engaged in human trafficking, sex trafficking, ketamine trafficking, illegal gambling, and international money laundering.
“These human trafficking victims suffer inhumane conditions and are sometimes sexually abused or otherwise exploited in addition to forced labor. This issue is not limited to the illegal cultivation and distribution of marijuana,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Allowing illicit marijuana farms tied to the CCP is a continued threat to national security, public safety, and human rights,” they continued.
Maine’s delegation, alongside the 46 other members of Congress that signed onto the letter, demanded that the DOJ respond to the following list of questions no later than Feb. 23, 2024:
- Has the DOJ devoted resources to investigating the CCP’s involvement in illicit
marijuana farms in the United States, to include financial support, management, and
distribution? If so, has DOJ prosecuted any individuals found to have direct ties to the CCP?
- How many CCP-affiliated marijuana farms are you aware exist in the United States? Are there others you are uncertain of?
- How has state legalization of marijuana affected the proliferation of CCP-affiliated
- How much revenue do CCP-affiliated marijuana farms in the United States generate? How much of this revenue is sent back to China and through what mechanism?
- How many CCP-affiliated marijuana farms have obtained state-issued licenses to grow marijuana, either directly or through a shell company?
- How many American banks offer financial services to CCP-affiliated marijuana farms? What is the nature of these services?
- Does the federal government need additional authorities to identify and shut down illicit CCP-affiliated marijuana farms?
Read more of the Maine Wire’s “Triad Weed”
- How Chinese Marijuana Grows Took Over Rural Maine
- Triad Weed: One NYC Bank Financed More Than 50 Illicit Chinese Marijuana Grow Houses in Rural Maine…
- State Law Enforcement, Feds Struggle to Clamp Down on Illegal Chinese Drug Operations in Maine
- Maine Legislature Will Consider Proposal to Fight Chinese-owned Marijuana Operations
- Collins, Golden Renew Call for DOJ Action Against Illicit Chinese Marijuana Grows Following Maine Wire Report