Monday, April 6, 2009

Sheriff lays out the law on marijuana

By ZACK CINEK The Daily Journal
Updated: 04/04/2009 12:00:29 AM PDT

Sheriff Tom Allman explained the Sheriff's Office's approach to
marijuana-related business at a courthouse meeting of mostly attorneys
Friday at noon.

Allman also discussed the proposed zip-tie tag program, which, if approved
by the Board of Supervisors, would charge $25 per medical marijuana plant
and also a possible eradication fee of more than $25 per marijuana plant.

"The purpose of today's meeting is very simple," Allman said. "I am trying
to take confusion out of the miscellaneous marijuana laws that we have
throughout the county and state.

"I am trying to provide consistency so when your clients contact you for
advice or after they are arrested and you are representing them, there can
be a clear understanding of what the Sheriff's Office's policy is and what
our eradication policy is," Allman said.

In addition to the Sheriff's Office's directive, a copy of State Attorney
General Edmund Brown's guidelines was also handed out and is published
online as well.

Some priorities for what the Sheriff's Office takes into consideration on
marijuana were also explained by Allman. One of the priorities will be grows
that are harming the environment.

County ordinances were also included in the Sheriff's Office's directive.
The ordinances include no more than 25 medical marijuana plants on one
parcel, that the 25-plant limit does not change with the number of qualified
patients, that no amount of marijuana can be grown within 1,000 feet of a
school, bus stop, park or church and that medical marijuana grown outdoors
must have a six-feet-high fence with a locking gate.

The outcome of the Kelly case will have a significant effect on the
guidelines discussed Friday.

"If the Kelly case is affirmed, everything you are reading you might as well
put in the recycling bin," Allman said. "But if the Kelly case is overturned
I assume everything you are reading is going to remain consistent as the

Objectives for sheriff's deputies to follow were also presented by the

"We will be offering compliance checks to any body who calls the Sheriff's
Office and says, Listen, I think I am in compliance and I don't know if I am
in compliance, will you come out and look at our garden,'" Allman said. "We
are going to go after the commercial gardens. We are going to go after the
gardens that are causing environmental damage." Citizen calls reporting
marijuana as a nuisance is also on the list of objectives.

Gardens diverting water illegally will also be a priority. Marijuana grown
on public lands will be eradicated and marijuana grown by means of
trespassing will be eradicated, Allman said.

Zack Cinek can be reached at or 468-3521.

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