The status of the legality of marijuana in California remains a very controversial subject. State law, federal law, court rulings, and local ordinances do little to give law enforcement direction in how to enforce the law. Without clear, comprehensive, guidelines, enforcement efforts can be misguided, resulting in poor decisions being made, and resources not being used in a manner that is most beneficial to our local community.
As Sheriff, I will implement guidelines for deputies to follow when conducting marijuana enforcement operations. If there are no applicable laws or ordinances that clearly apply to a particular situation (i.e. a grow in violation of an existing ordinance), deputies will have a list of five criteria to refer to when deciding to take enforcement action on a marijuana complaint. A marijuana cultivation operation will receive law enforcement attention when it meets one or more of the following criteria:
- Large scale, commercial growing operations. These types of operations commonly cause nuisance complaints, particularly in densely populated areas. They often attract crime, which detracts from the quality of life in an area, and place neighbors in danger. Activity that impacts neighbors’ ability to enjoy their own home, will be addressed.
- Growing operations on public lands. Our public lands are meant to be used for everyone, and should be safely accessible for that purpose. Whether you choose to hunt, fish, hike, horseback ride, camp, or photograph on our public lands, you should be able to do so without fear of stumbling into an illegal grow.
- Growing operations on private lands when the growers are trespassing.
- Growing operations that have a detrimental impact on the environment. Reckless dumping of chemicals, unpermitted grading that results in erosion and runoff, and destruction of our natural habitats cause problems for our entire society and will not be tolerated. These guidelines will also apply to indoor operations where homes are converted into grow houses, and destroyed in the process. An abandoned grow house can have a significant detrimental effect on the surrounding properties.
- 5. Growing operations that use stolen water, or unlawfully diverted water sources.