By Michael Webster: Syndicated Investigative Reporter Jan 11, 2013
Back in June 2010, Mendocino County Constitutional Sheriff Tom Allman as the highest ranking elected law enforcement officer in the county responded to his citizens who helped elect him, issued permits to medical marijuana collectives that wanted to grow up to 99 plants, an exemption from the county's limit of 25 plants per parcel. Mendocino California is known for its marijuana crops which many believe is the leading industry in the county.
Proceeds from the popular permitting program, along with zip-tie sales and other marijuana-related revenue had mounted to more than $1 million dollar income for the county since it’ inception.
In January of last year, the U.S. Attorney's Office threatened to file an injunction against the county's medical marijuana cultivation ordinance and seek legal action against the sheriff and other county officials who support it, if the county keeps refusing to hand over the records. In trying to appease the government the county stopped issuing permits for collectives to grow up to 99 plants under 9.31. That did not help the government continues to per sue their goal to apparently obtain those records at all costs.
The federal subpoena also demands "any and all financial institution account numbers and addresses" used by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Mendocino County District Attorney's Office and Mendocino County; records of inspections, applications, communications with 9.31 permit applicants, permit holders and inspectors; and all records regarding the county's zip-tie program including account numbers for "funds received through the program," according to the subpoena pursuant to a Public Records Act request made by the local newspaper the Daily Journal.
The subpoenas were issued Oct. 23 by the U.S. Attorney's Northern District Office, and were delivered to Auditor-Controller Meredith Ford, Sheriff Tom Allman, Sheriff's Office Financial Manager Norman Thurston, Sheriff's Capt. Randy Johnson -- who oversaw the county's medical marijuana garden inspection program -- and the "custodian of records."
The subpoenas ask for "any and all records" for the county's medical marijuana cultivation ordinance from Jan. 1, 2010 to the present, including all types of communication regarding 9.31, including with third-party garden inspectors and Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.
County officials, including Allman, and others who have been reluctant to speak on the record and Parker in a carefully-worded public statement, have said that the U.S. Attorney's Office hasn't made it clear why it wants the information. Locals fear that the real reason is the feds want to get there hands on all the names and address of all those involved so the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s office can build cases against the growers.
According to Col: Ronald Adler with the United States Civil Defense Assoc. said “If you would like to do more to support your local county sheriff in stopping the encroachments of the federal government, please support the USCDA and visit our web site at www.uscda.us
Sheriff Allman in a news report said “The county permitted 91 collectives in 2011 alone, and growers can still buy zip ties from the MCSO for $25 apiece to affix to plants to show they are grown in compliance with state law”.
As a result of the Feds action the county of Mendocino has hired a San Francisco attorney to help respond to federal subpoenas for records the county keeps on its medical marijuana ordinance, Chapter 9.31 of the Mendocino County Code.
The board announced after a closed-door meeting with County Counsel Tom Parker recently that the county "has retained the legal services of William Osterhoudt of San Francisco to assist the county in representation regarding the subpoenas."
In this climate it is utterly unheard of to have any official stand against the federal government. Typically, they stand with them – their hand out for more federal grants – no matter how much the federal government violates the U.S. Constitution and infringes on the public. Thankfully there are those few who take their oaths of office and to the Constitution, with sincerity, and instead they choose to fight for the people; fight for what is true and just. They are people like Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, those who sign up to become oath keepers, former Sheriff Richard Mack and, of course, Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson; whose own fight against a runaway, power-grabbing, forestry service is just the tip of an iceberg Gilbertson is hauling into warmer waters.
With the USFS closing roads on county public lands, federal law enforcement officers overstepping their legal jurisdiction and tens of thousands of acres of the county’s public land being usurped through the creation of national forests and monuments for the “protection” of the environment, Gilbertson is taking it on himself to protect the people – the ones often forgotten.
When asked why he has taken up this fight, Sheriff Gilbertson said, “My duty lies in the oath that I took to protect and serve the people of Josephine County, state law and the Constitution, and their [federal government] agencies are infringing on all of the above. It’s that simple.
“Look, much suffering occurred and many lives were sacrificed to make this great country what it is today; many sadly take this horrific loss for granted. A Republic form of government can be long-term but only if we maintain a system of checks and balance.
“Once we allow a runaway centralized government to weaken and/or erode the rights enumerated in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, we risk losing it all. Our government is rapidly approaching a socialistic posture; and seemingly, changing our life, as we knew it, through ‘federally imposed REGULATIONS’.”
The US~Observer has obtained a letter written by Gilbertson discussing jurisdiction. We are choosing to print it in its entirety.
Furthermore, the US~Observer would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Gilbertson for doing what he said he would – protect the County’s people, no matter what.
Click Here to See
Ordinance Amending Chapter 9.31 of Title 9 of the Mendocino County Code Entitled
"Medical Marijuana Cultivation Regulation"
Adopted by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
on February 14, 2012
Click Here to See
A Summary of the 9.31 Regulations
The Ukiah Daily Journal
Mendocino County sheriff’s web site
U.S. Court records