A decision by the Sacramento bureaucracy regulating cannabis to allow delivery of marijuana throughout California even in cities that have banned both the sale and transportation of it within their boundaries as had been allowed under state law has Manteca Police Chief Jodie Estarziau concerned.
The ruling Wednesday by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control is widely expected to be challenged and end up in court or taken up by the legislature again before it goes into effect.
Estarziau biggest concern regarding marijuana delivery services per se has to do with the amount of money involved. Given pot is still outlawed by the federal government, banking and other financial institutions are refusing to accept depots or process credit cards and such for marijuana transactions making it an all-cash business.
With marijuana selling consistently in many areas of the state for $100 or more an ounce, that means a marijuana courier would be carrying product that has a high street value in a burgeoning black market and/or be carrying large amounts of cash.
“That makes those delivering marijuana big targets for crime,” Estarziau noted.
After the personal grow law went into effect, Manteca two years ago experienced several violent crimes tied into people stealing marijuana including a home invasion that ended in a death.
In communities where marijuana sales are allowed, storefront operations typically have armed security guards due to the large volume of money involved as well as the ease to which stolen marijuana can be sold for sizeable amounts of cash.
Estarziau’s concerns for public safety based on cannabis businesses not being able to use banks is shared by San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow.
It is also why he is advocating if commercial growing of marijuana is allowed in rural areas in San Joaquin County besides making sure they are properly licensed and paying taxes, he wants the sheriff’s department to work with them to make sure they have appropriate security in place including the possible use of surveillance cameras that are tied into the dispatch center.
Eight individuals have contacted the county interested in operating commercial cannabis operations and to enter into development agreements.
Manteca’s law against the sale of marijuana within the city limits is unaffected by the ruling as it is in all of cities within San Joaquin County.
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