VVDailyPress.com-If elected, San Bernardino County Sheriff candidate Paul Schrader told the Daily Press this past week he would attempt to open a dialogue with High Desert city and town officials to allow medical marijuana dispensaries.
After Proposition 215 legalized marijuana for medical purposes in 1996, enforcement of the state law has largely been left to the will of local municipalities. In recent years, the region’s decision-makers have responded by pushing collectives out of the area.
“What I’m seeing is a lot of the dispensaries are being shut down,” said Schrader, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, “and my question is why aren’t (municipalities) complying with the law? I think (sheriff’s officials) need to start working closer with city governments to follow what the state law is.”
Schrader, who recently attended a medical marijuana expo in San Bernardino, concluded that voters “deserve a Sheriff who is willing to defend their right” to safe access to medical cannabis recommended by a doctor.
“I’d rather see people getting access through a medical marijuana dispensary where we can see what’s going on, (rather) than getting it out of the back of someone’s car in a parking lot,” Schrader said.
Amid those safety concerns, he went as far as to say sweeping legalization of marijuana “is worth looking at.”
Despite the current ban on medical cannabis facilities in the High Desert, Sheriff John McMahon said that
doctor-recommended users in the county are treated fairly.
“As long as they’re complying with the law, we don’t bother them,” McMahon said.
Authorities instead have sought out marijuana sellers and large-scale growing operations, which often are set up in residences, warehouses or on absentee-owner private property, McMahon said.
“It’s significant enough of a problem that we have dedicated detectives where that’s all they deal with,” he said.
While opposed to legalizing the drug for recreation in the county, McMahon said marijuana-related penalties may need further review.
“Do they need to, at some point, look at sentencing guidelines and maybe adjust those? That’s something they could certainly look at,” McMahon said.
For retired deputy and Sheriff candidate Clifton Harris, the issue boils down to authorities being educated on state law.
“I think it’s a matter of education,” Harris said, “and I would make sure my line of people who are facing these folks are doing it by law, and not by harassment.”
A Field Poll conducted in late February showed California voters supported legalizing the sale of marijuana by a five-to-four margin, and 72 percent backed Proposition 215. For the rest of this story>link
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