June 27, 2022
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Dayspring sentenced to 22 months for bribing county supervisor for cannabis permits

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The cannabis grower who bribed a San Luis Obispo County supervisor has been sentenced to 22 months in federal prison.

Helios Dayspring, who also goes by “Bobby,” was sentenced on May 27 by U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr. in his Los Angeles courtroom. Dayspring has also paid $3.4 million to the IRS as restitution for the tax crime, which is the approximate amount he underpaid his federal income taxes between 2014 and 2018, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Dayspring pleaded guilty last year to bribery and filing false income tax returns, admitting to paying the late Supervisor Adam Hill around $32,000 in bribes in exchange for Hill’s votes on permitting cannabis growing operations and related matters at the county level.

Dayspring “had one goal: build a cannabis empire,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “To accomplish that goal, he would not let anything get in his way, including the law.”     

Dayspring, 36, owned and operated multiple cannabis farms as well as retail dispensaries under the Natural Healing Center name. After his guilty plea, he transferred ownership of the dispensaries to his girlfriend, Valnette Garcia, who sold three of them earlier in May to Glass House Brands, a Carpinteria-based cannabis company, for $22.6 million in cash and stock.   

In his plea agreement, Dayspring admitted that from 2016 to 2019, he gave cash and gifts to Hill in exchange for his support when the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted on permits and land use regulations for growing cannabis, including votes that allowed Dayspring’s farms to operate before they obtained final permits.

In 2017, Dayspring also attempted to bribe the then-mayor of Grover Beach to obtain two retail dispensary permits. Natural Healing Center was awarded one such permit, though the mayor did not accept the $100,000 Dayspring had offered as a bribe. Hill died by suicide in August 2020 after taking a leave from the board to seek mental health treatment. He had previously attempted suicide in March 2020, on the same day the FBI searched his home and his office in the county government building.