Article by The Canadian Press
The leader of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department expects federal drug agents will attempt to step up marijuana enforcement as California moves forward with legalization. But he believes there isn’t the manpower to conduct widespread raids on growers and businesses selling marijuana.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell also decried California legislation that would make the state a sanctuary for immigrants in the country illegally by limiting how much local law enforcement agencies can work with federal immigration authorities. McDonnell said he doesn’t want his deputies acting as de facto immigration agents, but he believes the bill goes too far and would hamper co-operation on counterterrorism and gang initiatives.
McDonnell said he expects legalization of recreational marijuana to bring additional challenges for his deputies, who patrol nearly 4,000 square miles in Southern California, from an increase in fatal traffic collisions to a rise in overdoses caused by brownies, gummies and other edibles that deliver uneven dosages of THC, the chemical compound that provides the high.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month that federal officials would try to adopt “reasonable policies” for enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws. Sessions has said he believes violence surrounds sales and use of the drug in the U.S. The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
McDonnell said it’s likely there will be federal raids targeting the marijuana industry in California.
“To be able to set the tone, they may do that,” he said.
Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies have been preparing for the legalization of recreational marijuana in California, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, by studying crime rates in Colorado and Washington after marijuana was legalized there.