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Former Drug Investigations Supervisor on Local and State Compliance Issues
Author: Benjamin M. Adams  09/02/2018 - 08:02:00

On the fateful night of Dec. 22, 2017, California Highway Patrol officers pulled over a truck carrying 1,875 pounds of cannabis flower and trim for Old Kai Distribution and cited the driver and passenger. Mendocino County-based Old Kai Distribution, however, was locally licensed to distribute and possess cannabis—complete with traceable barcodes and tested cannabis material.

The workers were charged for distribution and possession, exactly what the company was licensed to do. About two weeks later, scores of documents were seized. On Jan. 22, protesters filled a Board of Supervisors in support of Old Kai Distribution—if licensed entities can be arrested, then no one is safe. The case continues.

In order to get an idea of drug enforcement protocol, CULTURE spoke with Jeff Meyers, who spent 24 years in Canadian law enforcement and who has worked closely with American agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Now, Meyers is chief operating officer atSpire Secure Logistics, which helps legal cannabis businesses stay compliant.

What kind of tactical experience did you accumulate as a drug enforcement officer?

My background as a drug enforcement officer included certified drug detection dog handler, undercover operator and supervisor, drug investigator training, drug supervisor training, unit commander for Drug Units at the municipal, provincial and federal level and specific drug investigations experience that included national and international, related to all drugs including cannabis over 13 years.

How can that be applied in the cannabis industry?

Again, my opinion is that there needs to be better communication and education between law enforcement, government and businesses associated to the cannabis industry. When you go back to the basic foundation of law enforcement it is community policing. You can’t properly do your jobs without communicating with the public.  

It’s imperative that all three groups get together to discuss the law, and regulations and the documentation that goes along with it so that everyone is on the same page. Law enforcement needs to know who in the community is legally operating in this industry and how they can work together to ensure public safety.

What’s the point of having a county license to distribute cannabis if you can still get arrested for it?

In the article, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) stated that it is primarily concerned with drivers who could be high behind the wheel and the agency has trained 97 percent of its officers and sergeants in advanced drugged driving recognition skills, he said. [Acting California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren]Stanley commented after a ceremony for CHP Officer Andrew Camilleri, who was killed on Christmas Eve by a driver believed to be drunk and high.  There was no indication during this stop that this was the case. Officers would have detected the overwhelming odor of “fresh” cannabis, not burned cannabis, which would have gave grounds to believe that the driver could have used and been under the influence. This was a case of a discrepancy in state and county regulations regarding permitting.  

How could the Old Kai Distribution incident be resolved?

Clearly there is a lack of communication and understanding by all parties involved based on the statement by the county representative. The company argues it can transport marijuana within the county with its local license, and county spokeswoman Sarah Dukett backed that interpretation. She said Old Kai was issued a distribution license last week that allows it to legally transport marijuana under two local ordinances passed earlier this year. CHP says otherwise, and claims state laws were violated.

Again, just my opinion but I believe that had there been better communication between county officials, the business and law enforcement, there would be no issue. I believe the federal platform on cannabis and the stigma associated to it combined with a failure for all parties to communicate and educate each other will continue to cause issues. Organized Crime, black market and crime is an absolute concern, but law enforcement won’t be able to focus their efforts on this area without breaking down the barriers between themselves and the legitimate industry.

How can security programs help protect business owners?

I believe that by acting as a conduit between business, government and law enforcement, we can build security programs that assist in communications, education and relationship building between all parties. The central goal of community policing is for the police to build relationships with the community through interactions with local agencies and members of the public, creating partnerships and strategies for reducing crime by establishing clear communication between the police and the communities about their objectives and strategies, partnerships with other organizations such as government agencies, community members, nonprofit service providers, private businesses and the media and decentralizing the police authority, allowing more discretion amongst lower-ranking officers, and more initiative expected from them.

The post Former Drug Investigations Supervisor on Local and State Compliance Issues appeared first on Culture Magazine.

Original article from ireadculture: Former Drug Investigations Supervisor on Local and State Compliance Issues

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