As California moves closer to the 2018 start date of recreational marijuana retail sales, Los Angeles’ Sheriff Jim McDonnell fully expects law enforcement to follow through on threats to execute federal prohibition laws.
In an interview with the Associated Press, McDonnell expressed his fears about the expansion of the state’s cannabis industry, and said he wouldn’t be surprised if the feds started knocking down the doors of L.A.’s recreational pot shops.
“To be able to set the tone, they may do that,” he said. “They have the right. It is against federal law.” McDonnell said. And while most people are scared of these tone-setting threats, the Sheriff seems to welcome it.
McDonnell told the AP that he thinks that legal weed will bring a wave of crime and health hazards. He even went as far as to - falsely - claim that particularly strong edibles could kill children.
“We’ve seen an increase of the number of kids, in particular, admitted to emergency rooms for ingestion of edibles that in a young kid could be fatal,” McDonnell said. “Somebody cuts a corner of a brownie, do they get the full ingestion of THC that was supposed to go into that whole plate of brownies or do they get nothing? There’s no control. There’s no quality control.”
McDonnell also failed to mention any of the regulations that California lawmakers are currently hashing out before recreational weed hits any retail shelves. As the head of L.A.’s sheriff's department, McDonnell is also concerned with his crew’s ability to properly persecute stoned drivers.
“We don’t have anything where it’s similar to getting a blood-alcohol content level, as we would do in the field now,” he said. “Without a definitive metric to be able to go to court with that — an index if you will — it’s going to be difficult to go to court and get the prosecutions the way we know we can get for alcohol.”
But while a recreational cannabis industry might make McDonnell’s traffic stops a little more difficult, the Sheriff doesn’t seem to grasp the larger scale effects of ending prohibition. But maybe he’s not supposed to, and it’s criminal-obsessed law enforcement officials like McDonnell that cannabis legalization is there to protect us from.
California lawmakers are currently pushing through Senate Bill 54, or as some are calling it, the sanctuary state bill. The legislation would make it incredibly difficult for local law enforcement to cooperate with federal agencies on local enforcement of federal law, and would also make it more difficult for feds to conduct immigration or cannabis raids. McDonnell, (surprise, surprise), is not a fan of the bill.
But whether he likes it or not, a recreational cannabis industry is coming to California, and while Colorado, Oregon and more have shown that a crime wave and health crisis probably aren’t on the horizon in California, even McDonnell agrees that there will be too much cannabis in the Golden State for feds to ever make a significant impact if they do try to enforce federal laws.