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Jan-01-2011 03:28printcomments

Another Vengeful Pot Bust of Medical Users in California

It's apt that the nickname of this community is 'SLO'- it underscores the mentality of law enforcement in this semi rural county.

SLO County Sheriff Pat Hedges
Visit this site to learn some fascinating facts about SLO County Sheriff Pat Hedges: recallsheriffhedges.com/ Special thanks to San Luis TV Station KSBY

(SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.) - San Luis Obispo, California Sheriff Pat Hedges is up to his old tricks; making a mockery of California's laws that protect sick people who use medical marijuana. This week his intensive 'anti-drug' efforts involved his tracking down "mobile marijuana dispensaries" that deliver medicine to those who have an otherwise difficult time accessing this legal herb. Remember, in California dispensaries can legally sell marijuana, unlike Oregon.

Fifteen people were arrested in Hedges' big 'drug bust'. The youngest was 33, the oldest was 60. One of those arrested; Pete Miller of Paso Robles, told Salem-News.com:

"Sheriff Hedges is making one last gasp against Medical Marijuana before his term is up next month. A girlfriend of a detective got a legal MM recommendation from a local doctor. She then used the print out of Dispensaries and Delivery services and asked for deliveries from all or most of the services listed on the print out. Anybody who made a delivery to Amy Dobson was raided by the Sheriff's Drug Taskforce on or around Dec. 28."

Apparently the 'investigation' was simply an effort to arrest and jail non violent offenders based on the use of business records. And that took two months? Pete Miller also said:

"I am a Medical Marijuana patient and manage a very small MM co-operative. I made deliveries to Dobson and personally verified her recommendation. I now have 5 cannabis related felonies against me."

SLO the Madness

I moved to this area from Los Angeles when I was in high school, and quickly learned how people here really appreciate the five hours' distance from LA. The license plate frames here read, "Come Up for Air - San Luis Obispo" and it is true; this is a beautiful part of California, probably the best.

We might need to change those license plates to 'Come Up TO SLO Town for some HOT AIR'

The people here are perhaps a little detached from reality if they keep electing people like Pat Hedges. If public officials choose to dismiss the laws approved by a state's voters, then they themselves need to be dismissed.

Hedges and others like him are the last vestiges of an effort to demonize marijuana and portray it as harmful when studies conclusively prove it is not.

History of Marijuana Politics in America

This whole affair to outlaw marijuana began in the early part of the 20th Century when companies like Dow and Dupont set out with the help of the Hearst Newspaper chain, to convince Americans that this simple ancient health remedy and incredible renewable resource that can be used for everything from food and fuel to fiber and paper was a danger to American youth.

They wanted to market 'synthetic' rope; that is what launched the effort that is typified by the movie 'Reefer Madness' - where marijuana smokers take a toke and start killing people. It worked and millions always believed marijuana was the worst thing in existence.

Again, this only dates back to the 1930's. Until the early 20th Century, marijuana based medicines were prescribed more than any other type of 'drug'. The result led to more terrible factories that pumped more toxic fumes into the air so they could replicate what Mother Nature already did so well.

No matter what, especially based on past history, this current series of arrests by the SLO Sheriff appears to be a personal vendetta paid for by San Luis Obispo taxpayers. Based on the press releases on their Website detailing crimes in recent months; Murder, Double Murder, Sex Crimes; it looks like they have plenty to do in terms of actual law enforcement.

In the present case, Hedge's teams weren't out catching sex offenders or dangerous criminals. With the use of a whole bunch of cops from a whole group of agencies, they reportedly spent two months "investigating" these deliveries of pot to other people in California.

The agencies putting resources into this operation include the Santa Barbara Regional Narcotic Task Force, San Luis County Sheriff’s Department, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, San Luis Obispo Police, Santa Maria Police and the California Highway Patrol.

It didn't even involve the crossing of state lines.

I wonder how many people are safer as a result of this police work?

Background on Pat Hedges

Hedges' idea of well spent tax dollars, involves his extreme approach toward arresting medical marijuana users and suppliers.

The nation's Attorney General Eric Holder, who represents President Obama's system of justice in the US, specifically stated that federal resources would not be used to arrest smalltime users. Looks like Hedges wants to make a mockery out of that statement also, as well as Holder and Obama directly.

Charles Lynch on the set of Larry King Live

In the past he led a federally involved witch hunt for a completely legitimate gentleman named Chuck Lynch who operated a dispensary in my former hometown, Morro Bay, California.

For those who don't already know this, cities with their own police departments, like Morro Bay, are responsible for crimes within their city limits. The local sheriff's department is charged with patrolling the unincorporated areas that are not within city limits. San Luis Obispo is a big county with a lot of area that rarely sees a deputy. Why would they need to work a city case?

The fact that Lynch was approved of and well thought of by his city's police chief, mayor and chamber of commerce director, did not mean anything; there was no reprieve for his having done everything right.

Like Tommy Chong, Lynch was an example of the nation's outdated and nonsensical laws against pot and Lynch's case, like Chongs's, represents the spending of incredible amounts of federal money, mostly to satiate the egos of the feds and people like Hedges.

Pat Hedges and his 'troops' did many things that should have led to an acquittal of charges against Lynch; he never should have been arrested in the first place.

Get this one...

According to the San Luis newspaper, where reporters worked from a news release that I tried but was unable to locate anywhere online:


"Investigators seized approximately 4 grams of cocaine, 57 pounds of marijuana, 162 marijuana plants, 146 grams of hash and 718 grams of hash oil, with an estimated street value of $3,482,308, according to the news release. Seven firearms and $492,931 in cash also were confiscated."

I think we can easily figure out whose lungs that seized pot has been filling; Pat Hedges may be full of hot air, but these guys are straight up blowing smoke.

For you folks who have never used drugs like cocaine, please understand that this is something like one night's worth for maybe two people. Back in the 'day' this would have sold for a couple of hundred bucks.

162 marijuana plants, that is probably all within the legal boundaries. There is no specificity as to the plants' age or size and so this is just ridiculous. The majority could have been little tiny starts that were one or two inches high. It isn't even fair to put a 'value' on a plant that is a person's property, but we'll go ahead and say a hundred bucks a plant, so let's go with about $16,200 there just to place a fair rounded value on it. You can't take a tiny plant that may or may not make the life cycle; that could be killed by mites and many other problems. Sure, if a person spends hundreds of hours under ideal conditions tending a plant, it can yield up to three pounds, but that is extremely rare.

Now, 57 pounds of marijuana; that is a lot, but not that much among the fifteen legal medical users it was seized from. A person selling that would probably be happy to get about $1600 a pound. That would be about $81,200. Now, once that goes on the 'street' which I doubt any of it was intended for, it could double the value, figuring it was going for an average price of $200 an ounce, the 57 pounds would be worth about $162,400.

"146 grams of hash and 718 grams of hash oil". OK, let's do the math on this. Hash sells for about ten bucks a gram but let's double that for the sake of this and make it $20 dollars a gram. There are 28 grams in an ounce, so that is slightly over five ounces. The 'street' value would be a little over $2,900, so let's make it three grand to be fair.

Now, how many of you know what actual 'hash oil' is? First, hash, hash oil, high THC concentration salves for treating skin cancer, cooking oil, marijuana butter; this is simply what people 'do' with marijuana. Sometimes the patient needs CBD'c and CBC's and these are not found in the typical 'budding' female marijuana plant; the one that gets a person high. These aspects of the cannabis plant are used to treat very serious diseases and they don't affect a person by getting them high.

Without knowing for sure, I would say that the 'hash oil' the narc's press release mentions, is probably more like marijuana cooking oil, not hash oil, but what is the difference; either way it's just liquified marijuana. They make it sound like an amazing amount but we're not talking about very much. 718 grams is just over 25 ounces; about a pound and a half. It was probably in mason jars, about one jar's worth, and not even a large one at that. A jar of this oil, if it was high THC content, (not all of it is) would have probably sold for a couple of hundred bucks, though again we can probably conclude that this was all medically related and never would have sold at all, but been smoked. I would think it would have helped a lot of sick people but instead the mindless ambitions of Hedges and his narc team led to it being seized. If it was concentrated oil, real hash oil, then it would have had a bit of value.

According to www.drugtext.org's page on hash oil:

"It is usually sold in tiny glass vials containing anywhere from 1 to 5 grams of the expensive liquid. Considering that one gram can get perhaps fifty people high, its cost-about $25 to $60 for a gram at current market prices-is not considered prohibitive."

So with the absolute highest dollar it could possibly worth, if it was sold on the street, would be $42 960.

Are your eyebrows up yet? These police officers are just writing fiction and this is easy to check for yourself.

Value of the pot plants: $16,200

Value of the cocaine: $200

Value of the pot: $162,400

Value of the hash: $2,900

Value of the hash oil: $42,960

Value of the entire haul: $224,660

The Regional Narcotic Task Force claims to have seized $3,482,308 worth of pot, etc.

I'm the first to admit that I'm not always great with math, but this is a very simple one to figure out. It looks to me like in a real world, this stuff would have a top dollar value of $224,660. You can subtract that from their highly inflated figure of $3,482,308 and still have three million dollars left over in change.

Looks like the cops are almost all blowing smoke in SLO County these days, and toss in their cohorts; from as far away as Santa Barbara. All part of their heavily funded narco drug team that spends two months busting mobile pot wagons that are operating above the board, but getting tricked by a detective's girlfriend? I've heard it all now. So much for the integrity that ever existed with these clowns.

Among seven presumably legal medical patients, the invading police teams found seven guns. Since when are people not entitled to own guns? The police had guns, are they in trouble for that? No, it is just mentioned by police because they know news media will parrot the information and further portray the medical patients as criminals. The police took all of the money from the homes of fifteen medical marijuana patients.

Fifteen unsuspecting people in Southern California, where life isn't cheap under any circumstances, had a total of $492,931 in cash seized by the cops. This is theft, more pain from Hedges' game. Oh wait, speaking of pain, six children were seized and placed into protective custody by the San Luis Obispo County Department of Child Welfare Services. according to the San Luis Obispo newspaper. What a travesty, Hedges must never be allowed to live this down and I hope massive protests take place and that a barrage of emails begin.

So welcome to the land of the backwoods law approach. As far as the three million dollar discrepancy in the value of the stolen, I mean seized items, do the math yourself and tell me if I am missing something. I see a bogus propaganda campaign from a county just far off the radar to get away with this type of crap.

Sources:

Dec-30-2010: 12 SLO County residents arrested in investigation of mobile marijuana dispensaries

Nov-27-2008: Meet California's Lawless Sheriff - Perspective by Tim King Salem-News.com

Feb-21-2009: 100 Years in Prison for a Drug Crime Committed by Someone Else - Cheryl Aichele Special to Salem-News.com

Feb-09-2009: California's SLO County Refuses to Investigate Citizen Complaint Against Sheriff - Salem-News.com

Also, this ia an interesting site about Hedges:

recallsheriffhedges.com

____________________________________________________

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Anonymous May 22, 2013 6:45 am (Pacific time)

Sheriff Hedges is a prime example of why people don’t trust their government. He is a hypocrite of the highest order. Charles Lynch was prosecuted for violating federal law while disregarding the power of the state of California to define its own laws regarding cannabis. Sheriff Hedges violated STATE AND FEDERAL LAW (18 USC § 2511 - Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited) with IMPUNITY. Justice is supposed to be blind!


mm January 7, 2011 8:11 pm (Pacific time)

Sheriff whatever his name needs to mellow out, smoke a doob.


bodinejones January 5, 2011 6:34 pm (Pacific time)

regarding LEO PIG used to stand for Pride Integrity Guts- in the matter of Sheriff Pat Hedges it simply stands for pig


Anonymous January 4, 2011 8:31 am (Pacific time)

Amy Dobson,or whatever her name is needs to get a good slap down, what a tool bitch.


bob from san luis January 3, 2011 3:02 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you for your excellent article. One minor point about this case; the seven firearms seized were all taken from a locked gun safe in the garage of one of the suspects. Our Sheriff's Department has had a long standing case of "gun envy" where they make it almost impossible for the legal owner to get their firearm back after the case has been decided or dismissed (which happens often). We have an excellent local investigative web site that has reported on many of our Sheriff Departments bad raids over the years, as well as other abuses of local governments; the site is: calcoastnews.com. Take a look around and you will see many stories about our mis-directed Sheriff's Department. Thanks again for your reporting.

Tim King: Bob, thank you and we're here to keep up with this, thanks so much for writing.


Jimmy January 2, 2011 12:32 pm (Pacific time)

I have a felony for less than a gr of hash and I have done 9 months in slo county over it....I don't understand why... I'm even a medical patient, why can't local law enforcement and Judge Trice follow their own laws given by the state!!


joel January 2, 2011 10:02 am (Pacific time)

people like that damn sheriff that bust sick innocent people need to die and go to hell for ever, that's what they deserve... Damn that f#cker, I'll talk to my voodoo friends make sure they make that happen... Evil f#ckers who arrest innocent sick people need to die and go to hell :(


ColoradoMidnightrider January 1, 2011 8:44 pm (Pacific time)

Good Article Tim!


Anonymous001 January 1, 2011 1:36 pm (Pacific time)

Don't forget that the goons often use "interception of communications" to arrest and take away ALL your equipment (which you will never again see!) The courts keep telling them that they have no expectation of privacy when they are doing their job in public, yet they keep arresting and harassing journalists and citizens. Good luck!


Anonymous001 January 1, 2011 1:23 pm (Pacific time)

If you go down there, make sure you plenty of video cameras and people to protect yourself from the goon squad...

Editor: Dude, we have hidden cameras that monitor hidden cameras.  The pen is mightier than the sword, and the Internet is a WMD of journalism when used properly.  We'll be careful,, thanks for the advice....


SLO_Resident January 1, 2011 12:01 pm (Pacific time)

Oh and apparently if you challenge the validity of the information in the article they don't post your comment.. *slow claps*

Editor: You know, you can have that treated.  Our comments aren't part of a computer operated machine driven environment.  They are approved by a living breathing news editor and we retort when necessary.  


SLO_Resident January 1, 2011 11:56 am (Pacific time)

Wow, i'm not sure where you got your "prices" from but if you can find an oz of med grade flowers in SLO county for $200 I will personally hug you for introducing me to that wonderfully generous (and mythical) person! Most of the delivery services charge between $300-$400 per oz here.. and I haven't seen hash or hash oil(which is not cooking oil but alcohol extracted THC concentrate) for less than $20-25/gram in a LONG time.. Don't get me wrong, i'm a patient and I hate Hedges (like everyone else in SLO) but you're so off the mark on your numbers its not funny. FYI, Recently a SLO woman settled a case for $20,000 after having 6 lbs wrongfully seized. She was asking for more, and would likely have gotten it if the county had tried to go to court. Luckily the higher ups realized it was not only a money pit but a losing battle. According to my math that means that SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY paid over $3,300/lb to reimburse her on a settlement! During the court proceedings a cannabis vendor was brought in to testify to the retail value of the flowers and potentially pegged the value at as much as $7600 retail when purchased by the 1/8th(@ $60/3.5g). So really, before you spend hours writing another opinion piece and label it as news you should at least do some research on your "home" county and the topic you are discussing.. sheesh!

Tim King: Oh please, so double the amount on the pot, I think that still leaves a three million dollar discrepancy, it's a load of shit by dishonest ridiculous keystone cops no matter how you size it up.  I'm now starting to glean the details of the police abuse that took place after the arrests.  I think some badges may go away over this one.  There is no data on plant size, etc., so neither of us has the ability to second guess that.  It is just pure fiction and I think I'm going to have to extend my time in SLO and be a real bother for Hedges and his goons.  Don't think I don't know those guys, I know the SLO Sheriff's agency very well.  I remember one night this barney fife type hassled by dad and I because we were trying to move a car that was having problems.  The nimwit was disrespectful to my dad and my dad shut him down.  It wasn't something I could have gotten away with.  There is jut a general disrespect for people in their ranks. I can go on and on pal and I di have a fresh piece coming out on this.  Finally, I think you are not a patient but a cop.  Even if you were a patient, you are writing propaganda for the other side.  Your points are stupid and baseless, mine are right on.  Three million my ass.  Have a nice day deputy


Anonymous001 January 1, 2011 5:39 am (Pacific time)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22129991@N02/5288693483/


Daniel January 1, 2011 10:41 am (Pacific time)

Tim another excellent article , except I would double check your cbd , cbs , info . Its from the female plant not male . THC will convert to cbn and cbd from excessive light and heat in the curing process .

Tim King: Thanks Daniel, yes it is invaluable for treating certain patients and I adjusted the copy over the 'female' part.  I suspect people don't realize that medical marijuana users often rely on the non-intoxicating aspect of the plant too, I suppose it doesn't fit into the stereotypes that some like to use .


Chet Biggerstaff January 1, 2011 7:41 am (Pacific time)

and this surprises anyone? Since when have the people had ANY trust in their leaders/officials for a very very long time? I can prove more lies and deception than truth and it has goten old 30 years ago. It is time to replace these fools.


Anonymous001 January 1, 2011 5:42 am (Pacific time)

An important part of the push for prohibition was the propoganda that associated the "Mexicans" with the drug. Because of the predominant use by Mexican immigrants, it was easy to dupe Americans into believing that "loco-weed" needed to be outlawed.


malcolm kyle January 1, 2011 5:16 am (Pacific time)

If you support prohibition then you are NOT a conservative. Conservative principles, quite clearly, ARE: 1) Limited, locally controlled government. 2) Individual liberty coupled with personal responsibility. 3) Free enterprise. 4) A strong national defense. 5) Fiscal responsibility. Prohibition is actually an authoritarian War on the Constitution and all civic institutions of our great nation. It's all about the market and cost/benefit analysis. Whether any particular drug is good, bad, or otherwise is irrelevant! As long as there is demand for any mind altering substance, there will be supply; the end! The only affect prohibiting it has is to drive the price up, increase the costs and profits, and where there is illegal profit to be made criminals and terrorists thrive. The cost of criminalizing citizens who are using substances no more harmful than similar things that are perfectly legal like alcohol and tobacco, is not only hypocritical and futile, but also simply not worth the incredible damage it does. Afghani farmers produce approx. 93% of the world's opium which is then, mostly, refined into street heroin then smuggled throughout Eastern and Western Europe. Both the Taliban and the terrorists of al Qaeda derive their main income from the prohibition-inflated value of this very easily grown crop, which means that Prohibition is the "Goose that laid the golden egg" and the lifeblood of terrorists as well as drug cartels. Only those opposed, or willing to ignore this fact, want things the way they are. See: How opium profits the Taliban: http://tinyurl.com/37mr86k or: A GLOBAL OVERVIEW OF NARCOTICS-FUNDED TERRORIST GROUPS http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/NarcsFundedTerrs_Extrems.pdf According to data gathered by privacy expert Christopher Soghoian (PhD candidate at Indiana University), 85-90% of real-time surveillance of your Internet communication is wasted on prohibition enforcement. youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpageandv=jJDCxzKmROY#t=342s - he discusses drug related Internet wiretaps at 5min 42sec Prohibition provides America's sworn enemies with financial "aid" and tactical "comforts". The Constitution of the United States of America defines treason as: "Article III / Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort." Support for prohibition is therefor an act of treason against the Constitution, and a dire threat to the nation's civic institutions.

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