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Another Vengeful Pot Bust of Medical Users in CaliforniaPolitical Perspective by Tim King Salem-News.com
It's apt that the nickname of this community is 'SLO'- it underscores the mentality of law enforcement in this semi rural county.
(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.
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.
Also, this ia an interesting site about Hedges:
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