Allman's Plans: Part ll of an Interview with the Mendocino County Sheriff
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“We’re targeting known growers now.”
Sheriff Allman has been working with other county Sheriffs as well as other high law enforcement officials on ways to deal with Marijuana issues. Just recently, he called a meeting with the 6 Northern counties most affected by pot—Del Norte, Humboldt, Sonoma, Lake, Trinity, and, of course, his own Mendocino.
The sheriffs discussed no longer going after big numbers of marijuana plants but instead targeting “known growers”—especially those from elsewhere with “zero ownership of our counties.” He cites people coming here from such diverse areas as Israel, Mexico and the Eastern United States in order to “make their million and go home.” Allman refers to instances where his deputies have cited people for growing only to have them protest, “I thought it was legal here.” He wants to change the perception of the area to one less tolerant of large grows.
Allman’s Plans for Decreasing Environmental Damage
The Sheriff strongly believes that since Proposition 215 passed 12 years ago and Measure G passed in his county 8 years ago that law enforcement has become difficult for him and confusing for the growers. With exasperation he asks, “Why can’t we have one law for the 58 counties?” With what is legal in one county landing a grower in jail in another, he worries that both growers and ordinary citizens are confused and frustrated with both law enforcement and the lawmakers.
Allman would like to see laws pass putting teeth into environmental acts. He would like to see fines levied against local petroleum companies that knowingly dispense diesel to unsafe repositories.
He relates how someone in Piercy on Bear Pen Road filled 3 large black plastic water tanks with diesel. Neither the tanks nor their fittings were safe for the task. Subsequently, neighbors found their water tasting of the oily fuel. “Why can’t we fine the companies responsible for this?”
“Let’s go to the root of this and find out where [the growers] are getting the fuel.” He wants to see fines of at least $10,000 for these kinds of abuses leveled, not against the grower, but against the supplier of the diesel.
(Interestingly, the grower in the above case was convicted of Marijuana production but, apparently was not charged with environmental damage though there seems to have been some attempt civilly to force responsible parties to clean up the mess. Apparently, environmental charges are more difficult to prosecute than marijuana charges.)
Allman’s Plans for Improving Safe Access to Medical Marijuana for patients
Sheriff Allman doesn’t rant against medical marijuana. He says he didn’t vote for Proposition 215 but now he sees that there may be a genuine need. In order to facilitate patients getting their medicine without bigger growers taking advantage of the system, Allman suggests a series of 25 tags could be issued to each patient. Each tag would be printed with a serial number and would be strapped around one plant. This would keep growers from photocopying their 215 medical waivers and ensure that only a certain number of plants would be grown for each patient.
He says a small tax (similar to the liquor or tobacco taxes) could be levied per tag. If each tag had a $25 licensing fee and a 1000 people did the full 25 tags allowed, that would raise $625, 000–enough to hire 6 new deputies. This would allow him to enforce the law while ensuring patients were in no way inconvenienced.
“Today, Mendocino County has the same number of deputies it did in 1972,” Allman says. A licensing tax would allow him to change that and help patients. “Turing lemons into lemonade.”
Small Town Disclaimer:
Tom and I were in Student Government together in High School and the impression I have of him as a warm funny guy with an honest streak a mile wide still sticks with me. Plus my mother thinks his mother is wonderful (This last might seem a small matter to those of you raised in large cities but, in small towns, family friendships are part of the old boy network or, in this case, the My-Mom-and-Your-Mom-are-Friends network.)