Helios Dayspring, owner of the Grover Beach Natural Healing Center’s cannabis dispensary, has pleaded guilty to bribing late SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill for positive votes for his projects. Here it is on a 2019 photo next to drying hemp plants to be used for biomass and CBD oil.
Bribes from a San Luis Obispo County cannabis grower could have impacted at least two board decisions in late 2019 and early 2020 – a policy in his favor, a review found.
Federal prosecutors announced in July that Helios Dayspring, a local cannabis grower and pharmacy owner, paid the late supervisor Adam Hill tens of thousands of dollars in cash, drugs, and meals in exchange for positive votes, private information, and influencing other officials .
The bribe took place from autumn 2016 to November 2019. Hill died of suicide in August 2020.
Dayspring surrendered to federal authorities on August 25 and is currently out of custody after posting his $ 50,000 bail.
The county has suspended Dayspring’s cannabis permits following the announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to a county press release. County officials began reviewing cannabis laws and land use permits, which “could be challenged based on the actions or votes of former Supervisor Hill,” the press release said.
Dayspring bribery affected two cannabis polls
The county review found the bribery may have impacted two board decisions, both passed 3-2 after Hill voted positive, the press release said.
The two decisions concerned extending a temporary ban on enforcement of cannabis regulation for certain county registered breeders through June 2020. The ban allowed some cannabis growers – 141 original operators – to continue operations while they were granted land use permits.
The vote to put the regulation on an upcoming agenda took place on December 17, 2019, and the decision to extend the suspension of enforcement was made on January 14, 2020.
Hill and Dayspring discussed the importance of enforcement in text messages exposed by federal investigators, even though those talks took place in 2017 and 2018, years before the polls in question.
Dayspring had three land use permit applications, and two of them benefited from regulators’ decision to extend the hold.
The directive expired in June 2020 and “makes any necessary corrective measures on this matter pointless,” the press release said.
Other votes that may have benefited Dayspring’s business interests were not passed or passed by a unanimous 4-0 or 5-0, some after Hill’s death or at a meeting attended by Supervisor Lynn Compton.
“We are neither privy to the status nor to the scope of the FBI investigations,” the statement said. “But in cases where misconduct has been alleged, we have conducted extensive investigations ourselves and will do so. The San Luis Obispo District has and will continue to cooperate fully with the FBI. “
What happens to Dayspring’s businesses in SLO County?
Following the federal indictment and the district investigation, the district sheriff’s office has denied business licenses to all companies owned by Dayspring, the statement said.
The new owners of the projects must submit new applications and undergo a background check. The Sheriff’s Office will evaluate applicants and examine those “who have done business with Mr. Dayspring in the past”.
In addition to its county businesses, Dayspring also owned Natural Healing Center cannabis dispensaries in Morro Bay, Grover Beach, and Lemoore. He planned to open two new locations in San Luis Obispo and Turlock.
In April, the Natural Healing Center company named Dayspring as the owner of the stores. However, Dayspring appears to have transferred most of its shares to his girlfriend Valnette Garcia in the past two years.
However, his name remained on the state cannabis business license for the Grover Beach location in late July.
Officials from Grover Beach, Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo told The Tribune in July that they were planning to investigate Dayspring’s business relationships in their cities.
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Lindsey Holden writes for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo about housing, North County communities, and everything in between. She became a salaried writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native of California who grew up in the Midwest with degrees from DePaul and Northwestern University.