Hogansburg Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana and Cash Laundering | USAO-NDNY

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Joshua Francis, 32 years old, a Hogansburg, NY resident, was sentenced to 60 months in prison today for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and drug money laundering, said Acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon, Kevin. with Kelly, Special Representative for the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Gregory S. Oakes, District Attorney for Oswego.

As part of his earlier admission of guilt, Francis admitted that he had smuggled large quantities of marijuana from Canada into the United States by boat via the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation in New York State between January 2017 and August 2017. Francis also admitted that he had directed couriers in the United States to deliver marijuana to redistributors in the Syracuse area and elsewhere, and also to collect the proceeds from marijuana sales. Francis distributed at least 317 kilograms of marijuana.

In addition to his prison sentence, the court also sentenced Francis to four years’ supervised release and sentenced him to pay a fine of $ 501,850, the equivalent of proceeds from distributing marijuana.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the US Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), the Syracuse Police Department, and the Oswego County Drug Task Force, made up of special agents from HSI, members of the City Oswego Police Department, Oswego County Sheriff’s Office, Oswego County District Attorney’s Office investigators, SUNY Oswego Police Department, and US Border Patrol agents. The case was being prosecuted by US Assistant Attorney Thomas Sutcliffe.

Curious Alaska: The place does the cash from marijuana taxes go?

Curious Alaska is a regular function driven by your questions. What would you like to know or investigate about life in Alaska, stories behind the news, or why things are the way they are? Let us know in form at the end of the story.

Question: What happens to the tax revenue from the sale of marijuana in Alaska?

When Alaska residents voted to legalize marijuana sales in 2014, they also voted for taxation. And we get to where this money goes (spoiler: it’s being used in a couple of government agencies for a variety of programs), but first let’s look at a few underlying questions, such as: B. where all the money comes from and who pays it.

Alaska taxes marijuana growers who sell the raw product to stores such as retail stores and edible manufacturers.

And different strains of marijuana are taxed differently, said Lacy Wilcox, president of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association.

That equates to a tax of $ 50 per ounce of bud per flower, which is the highest quality of the plant.

Immature or fancy buds that result from a poor harvest or that cannot be sold as a bud or flower and that can be used for another product are taxed at $ 25 per ounce.

There’s also a $ 15 an ounce tax on trim that goes into things like vape pens or edibles, Wilcox said.

Clones are also taxed at $ 1 per plant.

The “taxable moment,” Wilcox said, is when marijuana products leave the farmer. Let’s say Wilcox said a farmer grows a pound of grass and sells it to a pharmacy. If the farmer initiates the transfer to the store, the farmer owes the Treasury Department $ 800, or $ 50 an ounce.

That’s the state tax, but there are also local taxes, like one in Anchorage, which is 5% at the retail level. That money goes to the general council fund, said congregation member John Weddleton.

According to the Ministry of Finance, farmers have to pay the tax on a monthly basis. Most tax payments are made in Cash at a post box in Anchorage. It’s in a parking garage downtown and you’ll need a key to access it, according to the tax office.

Overall, Alaska collects millions of dollars in marijuana taxes each year. And that number has increased a lot since legalization.

In fiscal 2018, the state collected about $ 10.8 million in marijuana taxes (including fines and interest), while Alaska collected about $ 19.1 million the following year, and by fiscal 2020, the state reported about Raised $ 24.2 million the Treasury Annual report.

The state also participated in a Recent study about increasing marijuana sales along with Oregon, Washington and Colorado during the pandemic, said Eliza Muse, who works in the public health department.

“We saw really steep increases in all four states,” said Muse.

She said it’s not exactly clear what’s behind the surge, whether people are stocking up or stressed out, or because the state has eased access and allowed people to buy marijuana products on the roadside and online.

By and large, the state marijuana tax revenue is divided into several parts: 25% goes to state funding; 50% go to government relapse reduction programs; another 25% go to drug treatment and marijuana education programs.

The 25% that goes into the general fund can be used by the Alaska Legislature as it sees fit, said Kelly Cunningham, operating budget coordinator for the Legislative Finance Department.

The other blocks are dedicated to programs that cover the whole gamut to keep children away from heavy drug use to offenders who prevent re-incarceration.

But there is a catch: just because funds are intended for these purposes doesn’t mean they have to be allocated there too. Legislators could theoretically use the money for anything, said Cunningham.

In recent years, however, the funds have helped pay for programs run by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Department of Justice and the Ministry of Public Security.

For fiscal 2022, that meant roughly $ 11.5 million went to the Department of Justice, $ 18.2 million to the Department of Health and Welfare, and $ 2 million to the Department of Public Safety, Cunningham said.

One of the tax-funded programs includes case managers who work with probation officers approximately six months before release from a correctional facility. They’re developing a plan for when that person will leave, which could include help with things like eating, substance abuse treatment, and employment, said Crystal Smith, of the state’s Behavioral Health Department.

“Then when they get out, this case manager will help them connect to these different services,” she said.

The intent, Smith said, is to keep people from relapse and give people a path to a different lifestyle.

The state also set up the Marijuana and Education Treatment Fund, which goes into the other 25% of marijuana tax revenue, said Muse, who runs the fund along with the state’s public health department.

The goal of this work is to help Alaskan understand what legal marijuana means, which can take many forms, she said. The state worked with marijuana retailers to develop topics of conversation about responsible marijuana use, such as “start little, go slow” in relation to consuming edible products, Muse said.

“I think retailers want healthy, happy customers, and they don’t want bad experiences either,” Muse said. “And in the area of ​​public health, too, we want to ensure that people are safe and healthy.”

A portion of the funding in the 25% for treatment and education also goes to after-school programs for middle school students, where staff are trained to speak honestly with students about marijuana and “life after legalization,” Muse said.

At the correctional facility, the funds will be used for a variety of projects, such as GED or English classes or anger management therapy while people are incarcerated, said Laura Brooks of the state’s Department of Health and Rehabilitation Services.

“The resources available really are the full spectrum,” said Brooks.

The money also covers certain aspects of health care for incarcerated persons, primarily related to medical problems related to drug use. About 80% of the state’s population with corrections has substance use disorder, Brooks said, so the funds can help with everything from dental care to medical detox.

The money from the tax revenue also went to a sex offender program, a domestic violence program, vocational training programs and community housing centers, according to Betsy Holley, spokeswoman for the correctional department.

After all, the State Department of Public Security receives $ 2 million annually from tax revenue that goes to the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council, according to spokesman Austin McDaniel.

New York state legislature passes invoice to legalize leisure marijuana

New York lawmakers passed a law to legalize recreational marijuana on Tuesday, and Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would sign it.

The Senate voted 40-23 to pass the laws. Later that evening, the State Assembly voted 100-49 for the bill.

If the bill is signed, the Empire State, along with the District of Columbia, will be the 15th state in the country to legalize the drug for recreational use.

“For too long, the cannabis ban has disproportionately targeted color communities with harsh sentences, and after years of hard work, this landmark piece of legislation provides justice for long-marginalized communities, embraces a new industry that is growing the economy, and creates significant security for the public” said Governor Andrew Cuomo in a statement Tuesday evening after the bill was passed.

“I look forward to including this legislation in the law,” he said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he supported legislation based on racial justice. “I think this bill goes a long way. I think there is more to be done, but it goes a long way,” said de Blasio aloud WDTV ABC 11.

Black and Latino New Yorkers combined accounted for 94% of marijuana-related arrests by the New York Police Department in 2020, although city statistics show the proportion of white New Yorkers who use marijuana is significantly higher than that of Latino or black residents. According to a survey by the New York Department of Health 24% of white residents reported using marijuana, compared with 14% of black and 12% of Latin American residentsthe most recent data available for the 2015-2016 biennium.

The vote to legalize weeds recently came after the neighboring state of New Jersey legalized the facility. The aim of the legislature was to pass the law as part of the state budget before April 1st.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger and Congregation Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. The Senators debated for three hours, with Republicans claiming the bill was dangerous and not what all New Yorkers wanted.

“We met endlessly with everyone who asked us,” replied Krueger during the procedure. “The truth is, I’m not sure I have ever met such a diverse group of people as in the seven years my chief of staff and I worked on this bill.”

The legalization is expected to ultimately generate billions in revenue for the state, and New York City in particular, with a hefty 13% tax that includes a 9% state tax and 4% local tax. The measure also includes a potency tax of up to 3 cents per milligram of THC, the natural psychoactive component of marijuana that supplies the plant high.

An estimate by Cuomo’s office predicts that annual tax revenues from legal weed sales could add $ 350 million a year and 60,000 jobs to the state once the industry is fully established.

The measure allows possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana and 24 ounces of marijuana concentrate, and allows up to six plants to be grown at home.

The legislation also provides equity programs to provide loans and grants to people, including smallholders, disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

“My goal in implementing this legislation has always been to end the racially diverse enforcement of the marijuana ban that has weighed so heavily on color communities in our state, and to use the economic wind of legalization to heal and repair those same communities to contribute. ” “” Said Kruger in a press release.

“I’ve seen such injustices and for young people whose lives have been destroyed because they did something I did as a kid,” Krueger said as she recorded her voice for the measure. “Nobody put a gun to my head and nobody tried to put me in jail for being that nice white girl.”

Some officials are straight request for the bill to fund universal basic income and home ownership programs for communities hardest hit by the drug war.

“With the upcoming legalization of marijuana, we have the opportunity to legislate locally to make the concept of redress through a UBI and home ownership a reality for Rochester and its families.” said Rochester, New York, Mayor Lovely Warren, according to Rochesterfirst.com.

The bill will clear the criminal records of tens of thousands of people, has a goal from 40% reinvestment in color communities and 50% licenses for adult use to social justice claimants and small business owners.

The law also “creates a well-regulated industry to ensure that consumers know exactly what they are getting when they buy cannabis”.

The move creates a cannabis management bureau, which is an independent agency working with the New York State Liquor Authority. The agency would be in charge of regulating the recreational cannabis market and existing medical cannabis programs. The agency would also be overseen by a cannabis oversight committee made up of five members – three appointed by the governor and one each appointed by the Senate and the State Assembly.

Police groups and the New York Parent-Teacher Association have openly expressed concern about the bill.

“Absolute travesty. All of the research submitted shows it is harmful to children and makes the streets less safe,” said Kyle Belokopitsky, New York State PTA executive director. ABC 7 New York reported. “And I have absolutely no idea what lawmakers think when they think they want this to happen now.”

New York officials are launching an education and prevention campaign to reduce the risk of cannabis use in school-age children, and schools can participate in drug prevention and awareness programs. The state will also start a study looking at the effects of cannabis on driving.

The law allows municipalities to pass laws that prohibit cannabis dispensaries and consumption licenses. The deadline is nine months after legalization.

If the bill is signed, legalization of the facility would take effect immediately, but legal recreational sales would not be expected to begin for a year or two.

– CNBC’s Lynne Pate contributed to this report.