Opinion » Letters

The new sheriff needs to take the medical marijuana lead

San Luis Obispo

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I suppose it was inevitable that outgoing Sheriff Pat “Reefer Madness” Hedges would take one more bite out of the ass of the county taxpayers before he left to spend more time scaring his family.

But I was dismayed to hear incoming Sheriff Ian “Rational Approach” Parkinson invoke the Sgt. Shultz defense (“I know nothing!”) about the raids against medical marijuana cooperatives in December (“The road ahead is filled with potholes,” Jan. 27).

Because he is the one who will have to help clean up the mess left behind, perhaps Parkinson could have discussed the raids with the D.A. and suggested a different approach—like go to those cooperatives and say, “We know the law’s murky, but here’s what you have to do to abide by it. Otherwise, we’ll have to arrest you.”

Who knows? He might have saved taxpayers thousands of dollars at a time we can ill afford it (and I’d like to see a full report on the total cost) and avoided scaring the crap out of some children who were marched off to protective services like little criminals.

So what have we got to show for the bluster and might of the well-armed SLO Narcotics Task Force? Fifty agents on overtime, eight search warrants, 15 arrests for the dreaded “Mary Jane,” a dead dog, some poor shmoo wetting his pants while locked in a police van, and the opportunity for some back-room cop bluster. (“We sure showed those guys! When we banged on the door, I thought one of ’em was gonna wet his pants … oh, wait, he did! Har har!”)

But charges that might actually stick? The jury’s still out on that one—the D.A. has already rejected charges against three of the miscreants. I thought we all had learned something from the Charles Lynch debacle; how many millions did that one cost us?

We need to have a rational medical marijuana policy in SLO County, one everyone can agree on that doesn’t force people into these gray areas so easily exploited by the storm trooper mentality among us. We are looking to you for leadership, Ian. Right now, I keep hearing The Who in my head: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

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