Calif. Cops Lost in Pot Law Haze

They're left to sort out enforcement in whatever state
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 26, 2010 3:23 AM CDT
Whatever.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
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(Newser) – California cops can't wait until marijuana laws are clarified one way or the other because they're so confused right now that they might as well be stoned on the job. Take Deputy Sheriff Robert Hamilton of Humboldt County, the root of the state's wild west marijuana culture. He recently discovered a 200-plant pot farm where the operators recited a litany of physical complaints that they claimed made them eligible to consume all the dope they were producing—as much as 800 pounds of marijuana. The deputy ordered them to prominently display their medical marijuana prescriptions—then drove away. "Cheech and Chong cannot smoke that much dope," Hamilton tells the Los Angeles Times.

But "I'm a realist," he adds. "It does no good to nitpick on details when nothing's going to happen." And that's just one day in the life of law enforcement in a state schizophrenic about cannabis. The upcoming referendum regarding legalizing small amounts of pot won't help much. The law will likely still be ambiguous and the feds say they'll continue to prosecute. Even smallish operations can turn into trouble. The growers Hamilton let off ended up shooting warning shots to keep people away, and he discovered one was wanted on a methamphetamine charge. The plants were yanked out. "I wish they would totally ban" marijuana or "just make it totally legal," says the exasperated cop.

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