Posts Tagged ‘humboldt’

‘Marijuana Is Sexy’: Talking Pot with Mendo Sheriff Tom Allman

2fe97f251aaee95e4abbfb46d2ee12421.jpeg
Photo: Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman:
“We are, of course, supportive of legitimate medical marijuana here.”
By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent

The Coming of the New Prophet
Rikess: Last time we spoke in August of last year… (See Toke of the Town’s 2010 interview with Sheriff Allman here.)
Sheriff: Seems like yesterday…
Rikess: (laughs) I know and still…you don’t write and you don’t call…
Sheriff: (laughs) Okay…
Rikess: So last time I was here, you said something that was incredibly right on. You said that there was going to be very little difference between George Bush’s administration and Obama’s, when it came to medical marijuana. You said that someone big in the attorney general’s office sat in the chair I’m sitting in and said, and I’m paraphrasing, “He guaranteed me that it was going to be the same under Obama as it was with George Bush. In the end, Eric Holder will handle medical marijuana the same way [the] George Bush [Administration] did.” 
Sheriff: It wasn’t Eric Holder. It was a U.S. attorney. The chronological order was, the U.S. attorney came up here and said, (this is definitely under George W.), saying, “ummm, the U.S. government will not get involved with any marijuana cultivation, distribution, what-ever-you-want-to-call-it, that falls within the boundaries of California’s medical marijuana.”
Okay, thank you very much. And, you know, he took his dog and pony show and went somewhere else.
Then the presidential election happened, okay. Then in the primary or maybe it was before the general election, Obama just mentioned something about medical marijuana.

Rikess: I have the quote. [Regarding federal raids on medical marijuana facilities in states which have approved its use, Candidate Obama said,] I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.
Sheriff: Then all the people started, “Oh my gawd, the prophet has arrived. Y’know, he’s here!” And then after he won the election and took office, Eric Holder came out and said, “The U.S. government will not get involved in any violations that fall within the state guidelines.” People are going  “That’s brilliant, that’s wonderful! Thank you sooo muuuuch!”
And those of us in law enforcement are going, “Huh?” It wasn’t even any different wording [than the George Bush people used too], it was the same, um, so I tell people that on a regular basis, not to be criticizing Obama at all, because…
Rikess:  When I was here last, a little positive that things were going to change surrounding medical marijuana and you set me straight with…again I’m paraphrasing, you said to me, “Whatever you think is going to happen with Obama, there’s going to be very little change between George Bush’s administration and Obama’s, when it comes to medical marijuana.” 

And at the time, I thought you were wrong. And you were…1000 percent correct.
Sheriff: Only because…honestly…What I really try to do is get down to the root…no pun intended… of where we’re going on this.
Y’know… I’ve heard many times in my career that our United States constitution is a living breathing document. Y’know, when you’re a kid you go, “Really? Well, I’ve been watching it for five years and it just sits there.” And you don’t understand the depths of a living, breathing [document, then it changes] …such as, what happen to the second amendment a few weeks ago.
Guns and Cannabis
police11-16bust.jpg
Photo: Herald Democrat
Rikess: What’s new with the 2nd amendment?
Sheriff: Well, what happen was there were some pro-gun people in the Bay Area. They were going to Starbuck’s with unloaded guns on their hip, fully exposed, because it wasn’t a violation of carrying a concealed firearm, because it was exposed. And it wasn’t a violation of carrying a loaded firearm in public because it was empty. And because they were pushing the envelope so much, yesterday the California Legislature said, “Ixnay, no, you can’t do that.”
And one of the things the 9th district just said was, and I don’t agree with…is…Sheriffs absolutely have the right to say, ‘no,’ to concealed weapons.
Rikess: Does that mean, you judge who has the right to carry a concealed weapon or not?
Sheriff: Yeah. But now the law allows the sheriff of the county or the chief of police, to issue concealed weapons permits. In Mendocino County we’re really weird…Okay?
Rikess: You’re preaching to the choir brother.
Sheriff: [Laughs] Monty Python was…uh…born here, okay, maybe not born here but conceived here.
We are, of course, supportive of legitimate medical marijuana here. But we’re also very supportive of concealed weapons here. Due to the recent population shift, I’m down to 87,000 people and I have 2,400 concealed weapons.
Rikess: How many?
Sheriff: 2400. Here’s the best news…25% of those 2400…are females. Jack, that’s great stuff right there.
Rikess: Because they’re not threatening like men?
Sheriff: No, because I want women to be able to protect themselves. The former sheriff said, “Tom, as sheriff of the county, you have the legal ability to empower someone to take care of their own personal safety.” Wow, that’s some pretty heavy words there.
Rikess: Okay my next question is…it seems like violence has increased here in the last year…
Sheriff: A very specific type of violence… Other violence hasn’t, road rage hasn’t, child abuse hasn’t [increased.]…
Rikess: But why would you want to introduce more guns into the community? What benefits you by doing that? [I say] the more guns [you introduce] into the community, some of those guns don’t find their way back to where they’re supposed to.
Sheriff: Right. So I have 2,500 concealed weapons approximately out there with people who have gone through the 16 hour course, they’ve been finger-printed; they’ve paid a total of about $300. They’ve been interviewed by my command staff.  I’ve reviewed their file. Now out of those 2,500, seriously Jack, I want you to really think about this one, on an annual basis, how many people with concealed weapons get in the eyes of law enforcement because of they’re carrying a concealed weapon.
Rikess: I would say a very small percent.
Sheriff:  Three a year, when I say they come on the radar of law enforcement, it’s not because they’re brandishing a fire arm. When they come up on the radar [it is usually because of what’s written] on the bottom of the concealed weapons permit. It says, “Not valid if under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” We have probably about three people per year who get arrested for DUI that have their concealed weapon and we say, you were illegally carrying a concealed weapon.
Rikess: Do you feel, are you supportive of the use of concealed weapons in America?  Let’s say in Arizona? Arizona where they can bring ’em into bars and such.
Sheriff: Well, I disagree with Arizona’s policies, because their screening is not as serious as what I just said we go through.
Rikess:  So you’re saying guns in your point of view is a little like medical marijuana, it’s up to the states and the locale to work out the  . . .
Sheriff:  Concealed weapons, fire arms, are a states’ rights issue, so much so, that right now, this is scary, Utah is saying, if we manufacture guns in Utah, if we sell guns in Utah, ATF has no legal authority to restrict what is made and sold in Utah because there’s no state borders that are crossed.  You know what? They’re right!  Oh my god, it’s pushing the states rights issue all the way up the line!
I got off topic. Because you’re here to talk about Medical Marijuana.
Rikess: And also, I’m here to talk about violence.
Sheriff: Ok, let’s talk about violence.
Rikess: What are your thoughts on a 31-bullet clip and amour-piercing bullets? 
Sheriff:  Well, I mean there are limitations.  Do I believe there is a need to prevent armor piercing rounds from entering the public? Of course I do.
My question for the average NRA member is, and I’m a very pro Second Amendment person: “Tell me where the line is.” I say, we start with a bb gun and we go to a nuclear bomb of weapons. Where is the line of what a citizen can have? Is it a nuclear bomb?”
Of course not, that’s crazy. Alright, well, we’re getting somewhere, you know, Let’s get down to a grenade, what about a grenade? And then we get to machine guns, what other…
Rikess: Their fear is that, and just like the marijuana people, if you take away their 31 [bullet] clip, you’re going to come after something else next.
Sheriff:  Is there a slippery slope?  The difference between gun ownership, I believe, and medical marijuana, is gun ownership is clearly defined in law.  When I send a deputy out on the street, and he finds a gun that could be illegal, he can look in his book and say, what’s the law, it is illegal. And I’m taking you to jail. However, when he goes out and stops a car with 20 pounds of marijuana in it and the guy has a recommendation from a doctor that says he can have 20 lbs of marijuana, he goes, “Oh”.
Rikess: Well my response to that is we [as a society] understand guns but we don’t understand marijuana.
Sheriff: Okay, I’m gonna change that…in my opinion…We as a society have grown up with guns since the Revolutionary War…
Rikess: …[You’re saying] Incorporated guns into our lifestyle…
Sheriff: …Since you know we beat the British. And marijuana has always been…Shhhh.  It is only in the last few years we’ve been able to talk about it openly.
Da Feds and Those Damn Black Helicopters
Rikess: In the last three weeks, the Federal Government has really amped up their busts and how they are treating the medical marijuana industry…
eradication-helicopter_0.jpeg
Photo: The Fix
Sheriff: …Where?
Rikess: San Francisco. San Jose. The state of California. The weird thing is north of Cloverdale, all of a sudden, you guys are getting your stuff together. You’re doing cooperatives, dispensaries, and paperwork. [Still] A lot of people are not feeling good because they don’t trust the Feds.
Sheriff: Sure, okay. Whatever. And let me make sure I read this to you…
[The Sheriff reads the agreement of the collectives, ending with the phrase, “This does not give me [the collective] immunity from prosecution under Federal law.”
Rikess: Yes, we get it.
Sheriff: We have to say that.
Rikess: Sure, we can say that here. Even joke about it. We want to bring more people into your permitted zip-tie program. We’re trying to get people out of the shadows and say, “The time is right to come out.”
Sheriff: Sure, that’s what we’ve been saying too.
Rikess: Well, the same thing goes for your people. Your people are freaking us out.Your people are raising the bar with what it takes to come out. You’ve asked the growers to let go of 40 years of bad blood between the law enforcement and the growers. We know you’re a cop and you answer to authorities higher than us. 
Sheriff: No, I don’t. Please don’t say that. The voters are my boss.
Rikess: My point is, you just don’t answer to the growers but all the citizens of Mendocino. With that being said, this ‘Operation Full-Court Press,’ The War on Drugs,…The war…
Sheriff: …Please don’t use the War on Drugs, it’s not a good analogy…
Rikess: I disagree, what is it then?
Sheriff: The War on abusers of public land.
Rikess: Or how about another way to spin it, this a revenue stream for you guys…
img53813gy.jpeg
Photo: Democratic Underground
Sheriff: What???
Rikess: This is a revenue stream for you guys to create a false war on drugs by saying there are cartels in these national forest when they may be just the same as the other opportunist who are heading to Mendocino to get in on the ‘Green Rush,’ just like the Russians, Israelis…
Sheriff: Bulgarians, Germans…
Rikess: Right, so I’m saying that these Mexican growers in the forest might be just like those people, and not necessarily a cartel, but more in the vein of the other opportunists who come here. We also know when you find 10,000 seedlings in the National Forest; there is some organized syndicate behind it. Those grows take a lot of people to run. Whether it is a cartel, disorganized crime, or a group of gangsters, we’re not saying they are angels, but they might not necessarily be the Mexican mafia cartels as they are being painted in the papers and news. 
Sheriff: Okay, okay…Let me boil this down for you…Number one, you’ve never heard me use the word, ‘cartel,’ other than to correct people to never use the word, cartel. ‘Cause I’ve never said the word ‘cartel,’ in that sentence. What I say is…organized crime.
Rikess: Okay, we know there is …a certain build-up going on in Mendocino…
Sheriff: Okay, let’s talk about those black helicopters…The Blackhawks…
Rikess: Okay…
Sheriff: The Blackhawks… Why are they here?
Rikess: Okay, let’s start there. Were they here?
Sheriff: They were here, two of them.
Rikess: Okay…
Sheriff: They were here. Why were they here?
Rikess: Should I tell you what my people say? 
heli.jpeg
Photo: Ganja Farmer’s Emerald Triangle News
Sheriff: We did a press release on this but go ahead…
Rikess: I tell you what my people say…Homeland Security is here and they’re not leaving.
Sheriff: Oh well…wait, your people are right.
Rikess: Huh? Really?
Sheriff: So, why are they here?
Rikess: ?
Sheriff: You didn’t answer my question.
Rikess: Cause they got their foot in the door…
Sheriff: …Really? Of what?
Rikess: …I tell you what…What they are doing here is….They are equating what is going on here, with terrorism. And if they can equate it with terrorism, then they got Homeland Security. And if Homeland Security can get a foothold…
Sheriff: C’mon, Jack. [Laughs at Jack’s logic, shaking his head] The drugs of the Sixties were too good.
Rikess: …Let me finish…Then you can tell me where I’m wrong…
Sheriff: …You’re wrong already…
Rikess: Okay, when you can equate the organized crime going on in our national forest with terrorism, once you can do that…You can win the hearts and the minds of the people and then you guys can get as much money as you need to do your job. It starts getting to be about money. And this is a smokescreen to amp up the war on drugs, which we are trying to deflate and change, and you guys are doing business as usual. And this is a revenue stream. The war on drugs doesn’t work, and you guys don’t know it.
Sheriff: I’ll send you a bill for counseling…’Cause you got a lot of stuff off your chest… And the three words I’ve heard from my wife many times — I’ve been married 26 years — You are wrong.
And it’s very basic. You are wrong.
Rikess: To be very clear, tell me exactly what I’m wrong about.
Sheriff: Do you know what revenue we’re getting? Do you know what money we’re getting?
Rikess: Yes, I read about it…I got it here. [Jack pulls out article detailing the Sheriff’s budget.]
Sheriff: No, no, stop. Don’t have a preconceived notion of what my budget is…
Rikess: I have the answer here… 
Sheriff: No you don’t, because you don’t know the question.
Rikess: Sorry to cut you off, [checks notes] but you guys received $236,000…
sbso1.jpeg
Photo: StoptheDrugWar.org
Sheriff: That money is only going to be used to reimburse Mendocino County for the cost associated with overtime and logistics for this operation.
Rikess: So was I right?
Sheriff: If the Federal government said, “Tom, we have $236,000,” and I don’t know if that is the correct figure…
Rikess: It is, roughly.
Sheriff: “…We have $236,000 and it is yours, but are you going to use it for marijuana or methamphetamine? I would be out of that office in a thirty second because I would answer one word, “Methamphetamine.”
Rikess: That’s what we want too! To change the focus…
Sheriff: First of all, Blackhawks. The Blackhawks were not transporting soldiers or law enforcement other than the pilot was a military guy. They were transporting biologists to Lake County, and environmentalists, because they were doing reclamation of some of the older gardens that were not covered with snow…
Rikess: Couldn’t you say, “Boys, couldn’t we get a couple of nondescript helicopters in here because of as soon as you bring in black helicopters, my people are going to get paranoid.” 
Sheriff: Oh Jack. Tell me what the price of a helicopter is? Tell me what the price is? I can I tell you? If I got a helicopter the size of a Blackhawk that can transport stuff and lift up stuff. I’d have to pay around $2,000 per hour. Y’know the price that military helicopter cost me?
Rikess: You’re talking logic. I’m talking about Mendocino people. When you have these Blackhawk military helicopters landing, people are going to talk. 
Sheriff: As far as Blackhawk helicopters go, I can’t afford other helicopters. I can’t afford them.
Those helicopters were doing reclamation in Lake County and the national forests. They were really and truly improving the quality of land when a Lake County sheriff’s sergeant, two weeks ago…didn’t even know the Blackhawk helicopters were there. He’s driving up to the national forest to do good, sees a van on the side of the road. Gets out of his car, watches three Mexicans with guns run into the bushes. Gets one Mexican with a gun and takes him into custody. Finds probably a thousand dollars worth of water fittings. I don’t know if I could fit a thousand dollars of water fittings in this room? Okay?
And so…was the Blackhawk helicopter involved? Were they involved with the enforcement action that day? Of course they were! But we can’t predict what is going to happen? Are there going…
Rikess: …Tom…
Sheriff: Hold on; let me ask the question you’re going to ask…
Rikess: Okay.
Sheriff: Are there going to be Blackhawks this summer in Mendocino? Absolutely there are… [Editor’s note: This was about a month before this year’s eradication effort, Operation Full Court Press began.]
Rikess: Are there going to be Blackhawks in Covelo?
Sheriff: Of course there are. I cannot afford other helicopters.
Rikess: Are you saying this is a government thing? That in the rental pool, all you got to choose from is those darn Blackhawks? 
Sheriff: Yeah, Air National Guard. This is what they got.
Rikess: So you’re saying if there was another helicopter to choose from, you would? That you don’t have another choice.
Sheriff: I don’t have choice. Air National Guard. This is it.
Rikess: So that’s your answer. 
Sheriff: That’s it. They are taxi cabs. They’ll be used for transport of some of the Federal officers…
marijuana drone flip.jpg
Photo: In The Pines
Rikess: One more question. I have reports of drones being seen in Covelo.
Sheriff: Those reports are wrong.
Rikess: Just one more time. The people who reported this to me, didn’t have pictures, [so I don’t have proof] but there are all these people worried, and part of the reason I’m here is to defuse paranoia, and I trust you, Tom Allman.
[Sheriff Tom Allman stands and retrieves a picture of wife and kids.]
Sheriff: This is a picture of my family. I’m going to put my right hand on the picture and say, “From the bottom of my heart, nobody on god’s green earth has given my any information that there is unmanned aircraft patrolling any part of this county.
Rikess: Okay, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask this question. Would they keep you out of the loop so you wouldn’t have to answer questions like this? 
Sheriff: No, that would seriously damage the relationship between local and federal government.
Rikess: Third thing…then I’ll leave it. Would you tell them [the federal government] that you are adamantly against drones being used anywhere in my county?
Sheriff: Okay, let’s talk about that before I say that…
Rikess: Okay.
invest-in-real-estate-in-northern-california-north-and-south-carolina flip.jpg
Photo: Business Insider
Sheriff: When this program first started, I asked about drones. Because the purpose of intelligence gathering, is to find out where in the national forest…there’s a hotbed of activity. Okay? In other words, where people are? So…drones may be the right answer. And I thought it was a legitimate question and then I was clearly told by the FAA. Drones inside the political boundaries of the United States of America, are illegal, except for on the American-Mexican border. I can’t fly drones even if I wanted to.
Rikess: That’s great. That is the most concrete logical answer. So we can say if there ever was actually a drone within this area…that would be illegal activity. So it wouldn’t happen.
Sheriff: Period. End of statement.
Trust
Rikess: We want people coming out. We want to be able to trust, I don’t know if that’s the best choice of words…to trust the Sheriff’s Department…That when they [the growers who will register] come forward…it’s going to be okay for them…
Sheriff: …And all of that’s true right there…All of that’s true.
Rikess: That’s not true [for some]. Some people said, “I came out in 2008 [registering and doing the paperwork for the zip-tie program, e.g. giving the police department my name and that I’m growing] and when it didn’t happen in 2009 (the program was suspended for that one year and has functioned every year since), I got very scared.” And I’m crossing my fingers for 2010, and now, 2011, and hopefully, 2012.
Sheriff: We didn’t bust any of those people, did we?
Rikess: Right.
Sheriff: Sounds to me like its working, huh?
Marketing Tools
Sheriff: The Five Percenters…
Rikess: What? 
tom-allmanp.jpeg
The Pot Republic
Sheriff: Here’s the Tom Allman’s unofficial survey. Five percent of the population believes…if you have a marijuana cigarette, marijuana seed, marijuana plant, you should go to federal prison for the rest of your life. Okay, five percent of the population on the other side believe… You can do anything you want with marijuana, heroin, any natural drug… Smoke it until your head caves in.
I have learned through my 29 years of law enforcement, there’s nothing I can say to those two outlets at this point to get them to change anything. All they want to do is try to change me and harden my stance, one way or another. So I’ve come to the conclusion… I hardly listen to these people. [But] The 90 percent in the middle…The ones who want to make change, all right.
Rikess: And that’s what I’m doing here today, representing the 90 percent… Y’know…We…
Sheriff: …Can’t we all get along?
Rikess: Well, more so than that is…We’ve stuck our necks out supporting you…
Sheriff: Whoa…
Rikess: You don’t owe us anything for that…
Sheriff: (Shakes his head)
Rikess: But, we want things in return…And…and…we understand as the Big Cop, you can’t always give us things we want, like when we say, we don’t want you to smash the Mom and Pop’s on the way to the big grows….
Sheriff: …Right…
Rikess: That can’t be guaranteed. 
Sheriff: Here’s what I will guarantee…
Rikess: Okay. I think I got a scoop.
Sheriff: No.
Rikess: Oh…
Sheriff: There will be no 25-plant gardens eradicated this summer. I think that’s a really, reasonable guarantee.
Rikess: I had this conversation with somebody last night and I was unclear with this…with 25 plants, they don’t need to get it permitted. [Editor’s note: You still need a medical marijuana card in order to grow.]
Sheriff: No.
Rikess: Right…So what they told me is…They can be hassled by your deputies for up to three hours to determine [if they have a doctor’s recommendation]…So I said to someone…is it beneficial for you…someone to get the permits…the zip-ties on your 25-plant garden? 
Sheriff: You’re confusing permits and zip-ties…Just to let you know. You don’t need a permit to get 25 zip-ties.
Rikess: Right.
Sheriff: You just need cash.
Rikess: Sorry. And I said, is it worth it for you to get zip-ties on your 25 plants for peace of mind?
Sheriff: Yep, that’s it.
Rikess: They said yes because lot of times, these helicopters will come into our compounds, they look around, if they see the zip-ties, they just take-off. 
Sheriff: Isn’t that amazing?
Rikess: I say that is incredibly amazing. 
Sheriff: Yep.
Rikess: That is just amazing. And it’s progress. 
Sheriff: Last year probably the biggest marking tool we had is when a guy got stopped by one of our law enforcement officers, who is one of the most aggressive against marijuana going…[this guy] was stopped with thirty thousand cash [on-board and he told the officer that he was part of a permitted cooperative.] On his cell phone, the officer called Sergeant J. to inquire if the stopped gentleman was indeed part of a legitimate cooperative? Sergeant J. said, “Yes, he’s permitted.” And the guy and his cash were allowed to continue southbound. And that word got out… One step further.
Marijuana Is Sexy
Rikess: Alright. I’m going to end with this…
Sheriff: All right. The hardest question of the day. (Tom in an announcer’s voice)  “Ladies and gentlemen, could you please stand-by for the hardest question of the day.”
Rikess: This isn’t even the hardest…this is…Why is…Why is this thing so god-damn confusing?
420-chick-14.jpeg
Photo: Stop Pop Culture
Sheriff: Let me tell you why… One of my goals has been to take marijuana off the front page. So now the question is…Who wants to take it off the front page?
Because…Or… How about this? Who doesn’t want it taken off the front page? And who doesn’t is… is a longer list than who does. Because the media does not want it off the front page. Marijuana is sexy. Marijuana is just… everyone wants to read about marijuana. Whether you’re pro, con or whatever…
It is on the front page. You want to read it. It is on 60 Minutes. You want to look at it.
All these things — it’s sexy.
Second thing of why it is confusing… In my humble opinion, there are so many nuances to 9.31, that we had radicals, and that’s a strong term I rarely use, from both sides…Those five-percenters, okay? [And they] pick and choose what they’re talking points are…and they use those talking points… And 90 percent of the middle says, “What about this?” When they’re trying to have an educated argument.
And the five percent who say, “You shouldn’t ever have anything.” Here are their talking points: Number one, “Because the Federal Government says it is illegal.” [And above these growers] “These people don’t pay taxes. You and I pay taxes. These people should pay taxes.”
For the other five percent… [The Sheriff uses his holier than thou voice] “It’s a God-given herb. Why can’t you let us have it?” Then they’ll start to use the alcohol thing. You know what? Radiation is God-given element on this Earth. So I’m surely not going to agree with what their talking points are. If these people keep throwing their talking points out there to confuse the mix, and all I say…and all these 90 in the middle says, “You know what? I think we can come up with a happy medium. So we are. We’re coming up with a happy medium.
Find Your Own Solutions
Rikess: A person has asked me to ask you this. Someone is growing 25 plants on a parcel…
Sheriff: And they end up with 100 pounds…
090915113538-large.jpeg
Photo: Science Daily
Rikess: No, just the opposite. This person is growing with a collective because he or she can’t grow on their property or cannot be part of a 99-plant grow, and is under the umbrella or part of cooperative that is growing 25 plants. There’s 12 people part of this collective.
At the end of the season because of bugs, mildew, theft, what have you, and for my readers, this is a legitimate operation. At the end of the season things don’t go right for these people. Now then there are 10 plants for 12 people.
The people who are trying to grow their own marijuana are down to one and half plants each. And in six months’ time, they’re searching out for other…means to grow marijuana. It isn’t realistic…
Sheriff: Well, it is actually…If they’re from the northern part of the county it’s realistic because the plants we eradicated out of Laytonville were seven pound plants. But go ahead…
Rikess: Okay. We want to understand that you do realize 25 plants for 10 people is unrealistic. We understand it is advancement. We understand it is a first step. Then there is this Kelly law which I don’t understand because it seems it directs the answer to that question but it never answers that question directly. Tom, do you know what I mean…
Sheriff: Keep talking. I know exactly what you are saying…
Rikess: So, you’re doing the best you can. Some people can’t get into the 99 plant because of water, electricity, blah, blah, blah. Some can’t grow for whatever the reason, so they grow with a collective. So like I said, they are forced to seek out other means to grow this medicine.   
So the plan has a hole in it. If the plan is to be realistic, and we’re not with that five percent that says, let me grow as much as I need, for as many people…There has to be regulations…But do you understand where we’re coming from…
Sheriff: Number one, let’s get off straight. You ask me a question. Don’t I realize that 25 may not be enough? Well… Listen, if it was up to me, a lot of things would change in this world. But the world according to Tom is not what fills up law books. Okay? So… Do I realize that? I realize that…however; let me tell you why I’d throw the bullshit flag on this if someone wanted to challenge me in public on this.
Okay, there’s 12 of you. I want to make sure there’s 12 of you. Yeah. This is 25 plants per parcel. This is per parcel. Are you saying between the other 11 of you, there is no other place to grow it?
Rikess: Yes…
Sheriff: Because I would follow by saying…Remember when I told you about the one-percenters? The single digit percentage of people who are legitimate? That means there is a double-digit high percentage of people who are illegitimate. And they just waiting for someone to come to them and say, I have a recommendation, I have cancer. And I don’t have a place to grow.
And they go, hallelujah. I’ve legitimized my marijuana. Please come on in! And they welcome them in. And they take care of it.
All you have to do in a marijuana community is talk to other people and you can take care of your problem. But if you want to lay awake at night and find a kink in the system, hell, you can do it. These 12 people, I’m going to say, have not ventured out to find out what they can do. I don’t know of any real situation that you just said, unless the people cannot venture out and cannot figure out what to do…
Why Permits Work
Rikess: When it comes to the purchasing of permits and zip-ties, I’ve encountered two schools of thought from growers who are coming forward. One belief is they do it for civic pride and peace of mind. That once they’re permitted and legit: they’ve done away with the local law enforcement intangible. There’s another school of thought that’s more cynical, that calls it blood money. They believe it’s what they have to pay to law enforcement to grow their medicine. What do you do with the money you make from permits and zip-ties?
tomallman-240x300.jpeg
Photo: News Junkie Post
Sheriff Tom Allman has been supportive of medical marijuana patients who go by the rules.
Sheriff: My business shows that if I have a hundred of these files, I’ve collected $600,000 from these people. The rules state that the money I take in can only be used for what impacts this office. People think that this money goes to just keeping on deputies or that it is some kind of revenue stream. By law, I can only use this money for what impacts this office. I could give you a lot of figures, real numbers that would stagger your mind. Okay?
Marijuana impacts Mendocino County. And we’re just not talking medicinal, okay? So from April 20th to October, marijuana impacts this county greatly, not to mention the rest of the year, but spikes during this period. That’s what this money is used for. To try to keep up with the bad guys and do right for the good guys, okay? Again, we support legitimate medical marijuana. Everything costs money.
The money I’ve taken in so far only reimburses about a third of my expenses. Again, I’m operating on the same size budget that the Mendocino County Sheriff’s office had during the LBJ era.
Remember, some of the most vocal opponents to marijuana in Mendocino County complain that these marijuana growers don’t pay taxes like the rest of us good folk do. The money from permits and zip-ties silences that argument.
So I have this business plan, you take money in and you also understand that with the money comes that obligation… We’re trying to do the right thing for all residents of Mendocino County. So far we’ve found a pragmatic solution that seems to be working. And what we’re going to do is… everything we can do… to protect the legitimacy of the operation.
Packaged Marijuana Good, Live Marijuana Bad
Rikess: I don’t know if you know about this…What am I saying? You know everything.
Sheriff: You mean that ticket you didn’t pay in ’88? I know all about it…
Rikess: Wow, you’re good.
Sheriff: I know it…
Rikess: I had to change my name to get out of that…So…Joy Greenfield. 
Sheriff: Oh, yeah, okay.
Rikess: I want to hear it from the cop’s mouth. 
images_sizedimage_165160639.jpeg
Photo: Fark
Sheriff: ‘Kay.
Rikess: This is what my people tell me…
Sheriff: (laughs) My people? My peeps?
Rikess: Sorry, I just love saying that. (Both laugh) And again, I want to be really clear. I represent no one. 
Sheriff: Okay…Joy Greenfield…
Rikess: Okay, here’s the deal up here…is Joy Greenfield got busted.
Sheriff: Yes…By? Finish the sentence…
Rikess: DEA. 
Sheriff: DEA.
Rikess: And she got her crop taken…
Sheriff: Yep…
Rikess: Not returned…
Sheriff: Well…
Rikess: Hey, hey, hey.
Sheriff: How can you return grown marijuana?
Rikess: It was told that it was a bad bust and it should be returned. And the people up here say, “What we do is, because we do not want to accrue legal expenses, we take the loss with the weed…”  
Sheriff: Cost of doing business.
Rikess: Cost of doing business, right? They say she should have got her medicine back. 
Sheriff: …By the federal government?
Rikess: Yes. 
Sheriff: I’m not aware of the federal government ever returning marijuana.
Rikess: They do.
Sheriff: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?
Rikess: The federal government. 
Sheriff: Happens all the time?
Rikess: Not all the time…but on busts…that are inappropriate…
Sheriff: I’m assuming… when they return it…they’re returning the package processed product, not the live plant. Because we take those out and destroy them.
Rikess: I didn’t know that…
Sheriff: And its unknown how we destroy them…No one knows that…It’s unknow
Rikess: What do you mean?
Sheriff: Well…I’m not telling you…
Rikess: You mean besides for burning them in the backyard?
Sheriff: We don’t burn them…
Rikess: Okay…Can we do 20 questions? Number one, do they go into a container?
Sheriff: No. We destroy them.
Rikess: How do you destroy them? 
Sheriff: In the accordance of law.
Rikess: C’mon tell me…
Sheriff: C’MON, JACK!
Rikess: No, this is cool. How do you destroy marijuana? What could you possibly do different than incinerate it? 
Sheriff: Okay, you’re talking to Tom Allman. So how would Tom Allman…?
Rikess: Encase all that seized marijuana in a thick glass box with glue all over it… So you can have those… those hippies look at stuff that they could never touch… And catch the ones that do touch it.
Sheriff: This isn’t for public dissemination. Stop the tape recorder and I’ll tell you…
(tape recorders stops)
[The Sheriff tells Jack one of Mendo’s biggest secrets.]
[Tape recorder comes back on.]
Rikess: You were worried about me writing about allowing the Vets in your jail to celebrate Veteran’s Day with a BBQ while dressed in their uniforms. Nothing happened with that and that was published…So why I don’t come out with how you get rid of marijuana?
Sheriff: I can’t.
Rikess: But Tom, you do so many good programs here. You should come out about them.
Sheriff: BREAD’S my favorite.
Rikess: What’s that?
Sheriff: When I took office, I was walking through the jail …And I went into the kitchen…I created a baker’s program. The inmates learn how to make breads, cakes, pastries, mostly their learning a trade. So now we’re up to 16 [accredited bakers] and we had one guy come back, but we put him right back into the Bread program, because…he’s a good inmate.
Rikess: Alright. I’m going to end with that…Thanks a lot.

trouble in paradise…?

Email

Humboldt County signA Look Inside The Emerald Triangle

By Kim Pacilio

With medical marijuana legal in 16 states and counting, there is little doubt that legalized medical marijuana will soon become the norm all across the United States.  And there is no better example in the entire United States of how successful and profitable medical marijuana can be then in a tiny area in Northwestern California known as the Emerald Triangle.  Tucked away in beautiful Northern California, between the Pacific Coast and the Redwood forest, the Emerald Triangle has risen to prominence in recent years and has become infamous for having some of the highest quality medical marijuana in the world.

The Emerald Triangle consists of three notorious California counties Humboldt, Mendicino and Trinity.  With a population of just 225,000 spread sparsely across this beautiful woody hills Northern California landscape, it is almost impossible to imagine that this small area of the country is one of the best areas to grow marijuana in the Northern Hemisphere.  While there aren’t many plants that will flourish in this hilly, tucked away Northern California landscape, the cool winds and the fertile soil make it an ideal place for growing cannabis.

Since the middle of the 1960’s the infamous Emerald Triangle has become a ground zero of sorts for people looking to make a comfortable living in the cannabis growing industry.  Even though growing marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level, California’s friendly medical marijuana laws enable citizens all over the Emerald Triangle to make a small fortune growing and selling marijuana.  The Marijuana trade has even become so lucrative that in most areas in the Emerald Triangle one half to 2/3 of their entire economy is based off marijuana.  With this kind of volume comes enormous profits, not to mention enormous scrutiny.

Dank Marijuana NuggetWith over 1 billion dollars funneling into the Emerald Triangle every year, it is little wonder why the government has begun to take a second and third look at the impact of medical marijuana and the legalization of pot altogether.  With the United States government in complete fiscal crisis, the $40 billion dollar a year marijuana industry could bring substantial revenue back to the government.  Legalizing marijuana would not only bring substantial tax revenue back to the state, but the government would also save an additional $13 billion a year by simply not enforcing marijuana prohibition.

Taking out marijuana from the Emerald Triangle economy would be a devastating blow not only to the local residents who rely on the growing and selling of weed to support themselves, but also to the local and state governments who rely heavily on their tax revenue.  And with new medical marijuana dispensary’s popping up all across California every day, the medical cannabis industry has become a large and integral part in California’s diverse economy.

While many Emerald Triangle citizens walk a fine line between growing marijuana legally and triggering a legal crackdown from the federal government and DEA, many Emerald Triangle growers are undeterred.  In an area still reeling from the decades long decline of the timber and manufacturing industries, marijuana has become a mainstay in the Northern California economy and a lifesaver for many Emerald Triangle residents.

Oh No! California Drug Task Forces May Get The Ax. LOL

taskforce.gif
Photo: Stop The Drug War

​The Humboldt County Drug Task Force, straight from the pot-cultivation center of California’s famed Emerald Triangle, may fall prey to the state budget ax, resulting from cuts enacted by the Legislature late last month to balance the state’s 2011-2012 budget.

Oh, whatevershall we do without them? It’d be a shame for all those cops to have to get real jobs which don’t involve stealing people’s pot crops.

One of those cuts slashed $36 million from the budget of the California Department of Justice’s Division of Law Enforcement, and will likely lead to the elimination of 55 state-led task forces, reports Thadeus Greenson at the Eureka Times-Standard. The list includes the Humboldt County Drug Task Force.
Under the budget deal, the cut almost doubles to $71 million in the next fiscal year, which could trigger the loss of $40 million in matching federal funds — at least we can hope.

Under the direction of DOJ Commander Dan Harward, the Humboldt County Drug Task Force is made up of officers from the district attorney’s office, the Eureka Police Department, the sheriff’s office, the Arcata Police Department, the California Highway Patrol and the FBI. The unit works largely on tips from the public, and claims that it “generally targets high-level offenders.”

“The ability we have, as opposed to other investigative teams in the area, is that we are equipped and capable of handling the long-term investigations,” Harward claimed. “We have the time and resources to put into a case and devote to surveillance so that we we do takedowns, we’re getting multiple pounds as just user quantities,” he said, inadvertently revealing that his salary is a complete waste of taxpayer money.
Nothing definite has been decided regarding the cuts, according to California DOJ Division of Law Enforcement Public Information Officer Michelle Gregory. She said all 55 state-led drug task forces could potentially close, and that no process has been formulated to determine which, if any, of the task forces are to be spared.
The $36 million cut — and next year’s $71 million reduction — come from a yearly budget of just $77 million, according to Harward.
Some efforts are reportedly underway in Sacramento to restore some of the cut funds, but local representatives said they didn’t know about them.
“I’m not aware of any specific efforts to do that,” said Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa). “I think, overall, the Legislature would like to restore all the cuts we made. They’re all very difficult … To put it in perspective, it’s not that law enforcement got targeted. We’re cutting everything. It’s a terrible situation. The cuts are going to be painful for everyone.”
No, Noreen, dear. Not everyone.
In a Wednesday statement, Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) said the DOJ cuts won’t result in the layoffs of any local law enforcement officers, but “may result in a reduction of coordination between the Attorney General’s Office and local law enforcement programs.”
Some argue that the elimination of drug task forces — which, in reality, never amounted to much more than a bunch of over-funded, over-armed, sad-sack wanna-be Rambos playing soldier and wasting millions of taxpayer dollars in the process — would disproportionately impact rural counties like Humboldt, where local agencies don’t have the resources to fill the void.
“I think the overall safety of the citizens of Humboldt County would be affected (without the task force),” Harward said.
Yeah, Commander Harward, I agree it would definitely affect the citizens’ safety to no longer have a bunch of hyped-up, over-zealous, microcephalic ass clowns helicoptering onto their property and waving automatic weapons in their faces.

Pot Dogs: It’s Time To Treat Them Like Man’s Best Friend

Photo: The Tizona Group
​​​​​
By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
Anyone’s who has spent any time behind the Redwood Curtain knows that dogs are a grower’s best friend. Most farmers I know have at least one dog, if not more.
When you live in an isolated community cultivating the number one cash crop in the world, it pays to have a security system that you can rely on and for the most part, that can scare away any unwanted guest without firing off…a mean word. Dogs are an invaluable source of protection in lieu of setting up a .50-caliber foxhole.

Also for the bachelor-farmer, a dog plays therapist, friend and ally when all around you seems hopeless. There’s a saying in Mendocino: If you’re coming to Mendo for a vacation, bring a hat. If you’re coming to Mendo to live, bring a woman. There’s about one woman for every ten thousand guys. You could say, pets keep things sane up there.
Dogs-and-marijuana-02.jpeg
Photo: Fun Ripper
For many a walk at the end of the day to check out your babies reaching for the sky with your pooch at your side relieves many a fearful moment.
Without a dog or dogs, life not only becomes harder for you, but without an early advance warning system, the gentleman farmer who is probably already a either a partial-survivalist who believes its only a matter of time before the world ends or maybe is a conspiracy freak who’s waits everyday for the arrival of Black Helicopters.
These are the types that may get a little skittish and may be apt to pull a trigger at dark shadows if Lassie’s not on the front porch barking hysterically to let him know something out there.
Plus there are bears, cougars and mountain lions, and many other four-legged creepy-crawlers that might mosey by a cabin late at night startling the inhabitants who, on their own without a pooch for protection might send out a few warning shots. With a dog present, the iterant four-legged scavenger just keeps on walking — just like the other lazy opportunists do in the big city.
Dogs are more than animals in the country. They’re friends, family, and confidants that never lie or betray your words to anyone else. And they hardly ever talk back.
Dogs-and-marijuana-04.jpeg
Photo: Fun Ripper
​ ​Last year, I wrote in my blog about dogs being routinely shot and killed by police officers when approaching a possible drug house. In my piece dated May 17, ‘More on the War on Drugs, Pt. 109,‘ I wrote about the Missouri State police killing three dogs during a botched raid when invading the wrong house by mistake.
Being a cop is hard and they never know what they’re getting into. But shooting dogs as part of a protocol is wrong, especially when said bouquet of Whoopsy-daisies is caught on tape.
My friend the gifted writer, Kym Kemp, among a million other things, writes about Humboldt County in her blog, ‘Redheaded Blackbelt.’ In her column dated June 30, 2011, she wrote about two dogs that were stolen out of the back of a pick-up. At first this sounded like a Rodney Dangerfield joke. “Hey, I tell what bad luck I have. I bought two guard dogs and someone stole them.” Boom! Laughter.
Then I thought, how do you steal dogs without the dogs barking and yelping and snarling? I thought how bummed I be if someone took my cat. I just couldn’t imagine a person doing that to someone else.
Then when you factor in that it happen in a small town like Garberville or the like? I wonder how something like that could transpire, particularly in towns that are so animal-friendly and where you depend on your dogs for so much.
Then I heard about this from a friend in Mendo…
Dogs-and-marijuana-07 flip.jpg
Photo: Fun Ripper
For years there has been horror stories of Pot Dogs that have been abused in order to protect large grows. Stories of dog’s vocal cords being slashed so there is no warning bark for intruders. The owners supposedly feed their canines gunpowder to make them more aggressive and mean.
Or what happens on a daily basis, dogs are being tethered and chain to grows and gardens with some food and water in a bucket, unless something happens to that like the wind or the dogs tipping the sustenance over.
Then at the end of the growing season, the dogs are either shot or left to roam the forest in feral packs. These are some of the abuses that we know of.
Barbara Shults, R.N., Founder and Director of the non-profit North Coast Animal Welfare Advocacy Center and host of the radio program Animal Advocate on Northern California Emerald Triangle-based KMUD has started a campaign – Not A Pot Dog, to raise awareness of the cruelty and abuse entailed.
Ms. Shults tell us what got her started with the Pot Dogs issue. “I’ve been involved with animal welfare issues for over 13 years now. About 18 months ago, I found a severely abused dog roaming the neighborhood. It was a dog well known to the community for being tethered for years without shelter on a two foot rope at an outdoor ‘grow’. I took it to our local animal shelter and in thanks, the Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos is prosecuting me for theft. A man who stated publicly in a D.A. debate in 2010 that it was okay to leave a dog tethered, in violation of state law, to a ‘grow’ 24/7 as long as it had food and water.”
That’s right. For her efforts, Ms. Shults, was tried and convicted by D.A. Paul Gallegos after a jury trial, by all accounts, that was filled with perjured statements and misleading evidence, found her guilty of Petty Theft misdemeanor.
At press time, the 13 year- old dog remains in the same location with the same owner and with pounds of dog food and 5 gallons of water by its side, right back in the same place, vulnerable and alone.
As stated by the noted Civil Rights & Criminal Law attorney Greg Allen, “Basically what the D.A. has said is that anyone who is concerned enough to take a dog to the Humboldt County Animal Shelter can be prosecuted.”
I spoke to some of many of my grower friends about this issue, none of them would go on record with their quotes but they basically said, “If a cop shot my dog, let’s just say, I’m ready to go to prison for what I would have to do.”
Another farmer stated that anyone who steals another person’s animal up here, “We’ll settle that score ourselves. The Sheriff’s Department and Animal Abuse won’t have to get involved.”
From my research and interviews that I’ve done in the last few months, the summer of 2011 is going to get hot up there behind the Redwood Curtain. Homeland Security and the DEA have set-up shop in the Redwoods. Tempers and the hostility between growers and the law enforcement are already piqued.
Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman is courageously trying to change to the environment with his Zip-tie and Mendo’s 9.31 permitted programs.
We’re at the crossroads of marijuana, medical and recreational. Some call it a movement, while others call it an industry.
Bottom line, it is up to us to take care of our own. We’re close to pointing the finger where cartels are growing Titanic-like gardens. People know what’s going. And if you didn’t, you know now.
It is up to us to stop the negative aspects of marijuana before the corrupt Powers-That-Be turn ourselves against each other. Let’s police ourselves so the Man doesn’t have to.
When so much is at stake, we, the people need to stop animal abuse. Not only is it a travesty to the animals, which is foremost and paramount, but there is a powder keg that could explode if a man’s animal was hurt, rightly or wrongly.
Trust me, there’s a couple of guys I’ve met that if one of their dogs were shot or stolen, I wouldn’t want to be around when that guy found the perpetrator, whether that perp’s wearing a uniform or not.
At press time, Ms. Shults is raising funds for an appeal against this serious miscarriage of justice. You can donate to the North Coast Animal Welfare Advocacy Center, a 501(c) tax exempt organization or donate directly to the legal fund set up by Christine Garcia, Esq., at www.animalattorney.com/getactive.html.
The amount needed for the appeal is $5,000.00.

Video: Inside the Emerald Triangle

R.I.P. Jack Herer

Today is the one year anniversary of the death of legendary cannabis activist, Jack Herer. Here’s some information about him so you can get acquainted. Also, he has his own Jack Herer strain that you might be familiar with (we think it’s awesome!). Alright, well here you go, from wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Herer).

“Jack Herer (June 18, 1939 – April 15, 2010) was an American cannabis activist and the author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes, a book which has been used in efforts to decriminalize cannabis.

A former Goldwater Republican, Herer was a pro-cannabis (marijuana) and hemp activist. He wrote two books, the aforementioned The Emperor Wears No Clothes and Grass. There has also been a documentary made about his life called, The Emperor of Hemp. He believed that the cannabis plant should be decriminalized because it has been shown to be a renewable source of fuel, food, and medicine that can be grown in virtually any part of the world. He further asserts that the U.S. government deliberately hides the proof of this.

A specific strain of cannabis[1] has been named after Jack Herer in honor of his work. This strain has won several awards, including the 7th High Times Cannabis Cup. Jack Herer was also inducted into the Counterculture Hall of Fame at the 16th Cannabis Cup in recognition of his first book.[2]

Herer ran for United States President twice, in 1988 (1,949 votes) and 1992 (3,875 votes) as the Grassroots Party candidate.

In July 2000, Herer suffered a minor heart attack and a major stroke, resulting in difficulties speaking and moving the right side of his body.[3] Herer mostly recovered, and claimed in May 2004 that treatment with the amanita muscaria, a psychoactive mushroom was the “secret”.[4]

On September 12, 2009 Herer suffered another heart attack while backstage at the Hempstalk Festival in Portland, Oregon.[5] He spent nearly a month in critical condition in a Portland hospital, including several days in a medically induced coma. He was discharged to another facility on October 13, 2009. Paul Stanford of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation said “He is waking up and gazing appropriately when someone is talking… but he is not really communicating in any way.”[6] He died aged 70 on April 15, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon, from complications related to the September 2009 heart attack.[7][8] Herer was buried at the Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.

Criticism

European experts on hemp, like Dr. Hayo M.G. van der Werf author of the doctoral thesis Crop physiology of fibre hemp (1994) and Dr. Ivan Bûcsa have criticized Herer for making unrealistic claims regarding the potential of hemp, for example:

– Herer claimed that hemp produces higher yields than other crops. Van der Werf argue that is simply wrong. Under most favorable growing conditions, other crops such as maize, sugar beet or potato produced similar dry matter yields. Fiber hemp is in no way exceptional.[9]

– Herer claimed that hemp hurds, which make up 60 to 80 % of the stem dry weight, contain 77 % cellulose. Van der Werf argue that is wrong. Cellulose content of hemp hurds has been found to vary between 32 and 38 % (Bedetti and Ciaralli 1976, van der Werf 1994). Possibly, Herer confused the hurds, which form the woody core of the hemp stem, with the bark, which forms the outer layer of the hemp stem. The bark contains the long bast fibers which are used in textile manufacturing. [9]

– Herer claimed that hemp could be grown on 6 million hectares in the European Union. Dr. Ivan Bûcsa argue that it was a great exaggeration to calculate that since it is not worth transporting unprocessed hemp more than 40-50 km even in bales. [10] The total reported area in the world cultivated with hemp fiber and hemp seed has only been a fraction of Herers claim: 0.3 million hectares in 1965, 0.076 million hectares in 2004.[11]”

%d bloggers like this: