Allman's Plans: Part ll of an Interview with the Mendocino County Sheriff

US Marijuana Arrests 1965-2006

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Link to Part 1 of the Interview

“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.”

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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.)

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10 comments

  • Pingback: Talking with Tom: An Interview with Mendocino County Sheriff, Tom Allman « REDHEADED BLACKBELT and Other Strange Connections

  • I know both Tom and his mom, and I knew his dad, and his aunts and his uncles. All great people. I believe that Tom has a genuine concern for what happens to us and our environment. Tom was a volunteer firefighter in Garberville when he lived here. Tom is the kind of guy that would volunteer his time for the betterment and safety of others.

    But, it isn’t about Tom is it? Unfortunately it’s about the people that would take a phony position of growing much needed medicine for those poor unfortunate people that are, gasp, dying of cancer or another dread disease. They hide behind the wall of “Health Care Provider” while they poison us and our environment. Not exactly the kind of people any of us want to know or like. They are like Quack Doctors that sell you something that is supposed to make you feel better, while they are killing you, while they are getting obscenely wealthy.

    That is one advantage that the people that have lived here for a while have over the people that have just arrived. We know who we can trust. And in most cases we know who not to trust.

    We not only need laws regulating Marijuana, we need federal laws that are firm and consistent, that are good from state to state, and county to county. Laws that are clear to people, and to law enforcement. We are asking a great deal of our law enforcement officers, to send them into the field to enforce laws that no one can understand. The marijuana laws are like rules that little kids make up when they are playing marbles If you holler “Fudgies” it’s legal to do anything.

    Nobody wants to take medicine away from the sick. But the quack growers have got to go! Legalization is not the answer. You might as well legalize murder, and if you think real hard about it, you can make that stretch when you consider what’s happening to our environment.

    There is nothing wrong with Ma and Pa growing a little “Medicine” but marijuana has to have some controls on it, only a deaf, dumb and blind person could not see the effects that it has on people and our society.

    By the way, thanks Kym and Tom!

  • Ernie, Tom is great isn’t he?

    I disagree with you though. I think legalization is the answer. It takes the profit margin out of most grows–makes it so that grows become either very small or fall under agricultural codes.

    But, there is no getting around the fact that economically this county will plunge into a depression if it does not have illegal grow money filtering through it.

    There aren’t any easy answers. But we sure as heck won’t find the answers if we pretend the elephant isn’t there.

  • Kym, possibly I didn’t make my self clear. If “legalization” is the answer it needs to be addressed uniformly, with everyone operating under the same rules, Federal, State, County, and City.

    I can’t believe that you would want it legal for eight-year old children to be smoking Marijuana. There has to be rules for a drug that started out potent enough already. What’s to say that they won’t develop even stronger strains, it’s entirely possible. Then if Marijuana is legal what about hashish? Where do we start to need rules, at some point I think that we would all agree that there should be a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

    Legalization at this point would throw most of northern California into chaos. We got into this mess slowly, and we need to get out of it slowly. Instant legalization will hurt too many innocent people. Am I making any sense yet?

    No matter how “Legal” you want to make marijuana. Marijuana is a potent drug, and foolish minds need to be protected from it, up until the point that they can become stoners maturely.

  • I don’t, of course, think children should be legal to smoke marijuana except as a medical necessity. But I do think that adults should choose, just as they choose or not tobacco, alcohol, and sugar.

    I probably agree more with Fred than you on this. I’m a Libertarian in a lot of my views. I absolutely hate meth but I think society as a whole is best served by legalization with lots of oversight (not very Libertarian 8) ) and taxation. The taxes should go to drug education and rehab centers.

  • I think it goes beyond legalization… I think it should be standardization. I find it quite interesting that people are animate up in this area about organic standards and certifications. That some people are so passionate in what they put in their mouths but when it comes to this… it is open season. Hell, even the cup of coffee I’m drinking while tying this has gone through a certification in a third world country.

    I would recommend all the ‘caretakers’ who maximize upon these 25+ plant prescriptions allow a 3rd party to come and inspect to see if the procedures and protocols were being followed as a ‘caretaker’. Indoor operation? Great… let’s check how you dispose of your waste. Check to see if your wiring is proper and does not short out and burn down your humble abode. Or tapping into the grid illegally. Oh… 6 pounds of marijuana and you’re planning on providing care of X amount of patients? Let’s help by tagging and tracking where it goes, and what amounts. Make the prices regulated as well. If it is medicine, and you’re doing this for the patients… then earn a little cash, cover your costs, and make it affordable to the ‘patients’. Great! Then pay X for taxes since it is considered taxable income. So the county can slap up some municipal rural internet with all that extra cash, and pave a few roads for ****s and giggles.

    A patient does not roll up a huge 1lb fatty at a time… nor do you out and purchase 40 bottles of motrin at the local pharmacy when your body aches. So why not dispense it accordingly? Very similar to that card/vending machine someone has whipped up down in So Cal. Track how much a person is consuming to make sure they are not abusing the system. Pay some taxes on it, make it financially available to people who cannot afford it. (Seriously, when was the last time you saw a cancer patient receive 2lbs of ‘medicine’ for $500?) Ironically the clubs and street prices seem to always parallel each other… hmph.

    If it is truly a medicine, then implement a system where it is treated like a medicine. But to see someone who is passionate about marijuana, and wants the world to conform to it. Give a little. If Laura Hamburg was open to having an open book policy to see what exactly she was planning on doing with that 50 pounds of weed at her place. Or letting a 3rd party take that 50 pounds a dispense it properly to patients a few ounces at a time… I’d push for measure G. But sadly, it is similar to politics… the truth of the matter usually gets swept underneath the rug and you just end up with a whole bunch of smoke and mirrors. Serious distractions. I’m just tired of watching some of my pro G friends offer me cash for a prescription so they can grow and extra 25 plants and cash in on the system.

    But when someone is going to wave the privacy flag ‘get off my land’ attitude, it means that truly there is something to hide. It obviously leads to suspicion, and once again… simply a for profit loophole. Which measure G was not meant for. To which point I would suggest pushing for opium and coca production as well. Since they too can be used for legitimate medicinal purposes.

    Legalize it? Sure… but don’t forget to standardize it.

    (hahaa… I can hear a new reggae song coming up… “Standardize it.”)

  • Why not have medical pot be unmanicured. All manicured pot would be contriband.

  • Nea, I think one of the most interesting little known facts about marijuana is that many indoor growers prefer to smoke outdoor. Many of the people most in the position to know say the smoke is more spiritual, the outdoor plant is usually organic, and the flavor is mellow. Just like standardized tomatoes in Safeway tend to be bland and almost mechanical in their taste compared to homegrown so too is indoor pot less flavorful and healthy than outdoor.

    Ben, wouldn’t there be mold problems in the unmanicured?

  • I am enjoying this thread and learning a lot and putting some new thoughts in my brain to mull around.

  • Pingback: Jerry Brown’s More Stringent Marijuana Laws Now Being Enforced? « REDHEADED BLACKBELT

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