Sessions Leads Bicameral Inquiry into CCP-Linked Illegal Marijuana Operations in the United States
February 2, 2024. Washington, D.C. - Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) led a letter to Attorney General of the United States Merrick Garland concerning Chinese Communist Party (CCP) affiliated marijuana cultivation operations in the United States. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Congressmen Jared Golden (D-ME), Senator Angus King (I-ME), and Congressman David Valadao (R-CA) led this letter along with Congressman Sessions and 45 additional Members of Congress.
The letter elevates recent reports about the surge in CCP-affiliated marijuana farming operations across the country. In addition to marijuana cultivation, these operations are implicated in a range of criminal activities including: human trafficking, drug trafficking, forced labor, and violent crime.
A leaked document from the Department of Homeland Security dated August 2023 suggests that these illicit farms are part of a larger network involving Asian transnational criminal organizations. The revenue generated by these illegal operations reportedly dwarfs that of legal marijuana markets, indicating a significant underground economy.
“There is substantial evidence implicating the CCP in directly supporting illicit marijuana grow operations across the United States.” said the lawmakers. “Further, the same DHS document indicated 270 suspected illicit marijuana operations in rural Maine generated an estimated $4.37 billion in revenue, far outpacing the $158 million from the state’s legal marijuana market last year… This issue is not limited to the illegal cultivation and distribution of marijuana. Allowing illicit marijuana farms tied to the CCP is a continued threat to national security, public safety, and human rights.”
The bipartisan group of legislators is seeking a comprehensive briefing from the Department of Justice on several critical questions related to this subject.
The full letter can be found here.