It finally happened.. an Oklahoma sheriff called & said; 'come get your marijuana'.
Legal transport of Oklahoma Medical Marijuana was seized earlier this month along the trek from Enid, to Edmond. Logan County Sheriff Deputies were in a routine traffic stop when they discovered a large shipment & over $5000 in cash. Two employees were in the midst of their deliveries in the 'cash-only' Oklahoma medicinal cannabis enterprises.
Sheriff Damon Devereaux of Logan County, says his deputies seized all of it and arrested the two employees, despite all their cooperation and attempts to explain the new laws. The deputies have many years of experience in dealing with the black market cartels and significant ongoing training to identify the signs of trafficking drugs. Evidently this transport just seemed more similar to black market activity, so the cops let their training kick in.
This week we read that the entire shipment and the cash was turned over to the defense attorney representing the two arrested employees. The fault seems to lie with both a lack of updated training and a poor state system of verification of Cannabis industry employees. This same problem exists for sales representatives who must carry sample products when calling on the 1000+ local dispensaries. They currently have to fake an illness(or actually have one) which meets a physicians criteria for cannabis medicine treatment. But large shipments exceed the quantities that a patient may lawfully possess.
As business expands (and it's currently exploding) for growers, processors, and dispensaries, there is no current way to prove that a medicine shipment and transport worker is legal. Thus, a cop really doesn't have the "probable cause" criteria needed to detain or arrest an otherwise law abiding citizen. Sadly, the corruption of the federal asset forfeiture rules do allow cover to cops to seize all shipments on a "Preponderance of the evidence" threshold. Then the individual essentially has to prove he may lawfully possess it.
Even the new laws set to be enforced next month are going to leave many problems for law enforcement and the good people providing this safe & effective medicine. But at least the industry will finally get the transporter license credentials that they've been begging for, which the legislature, OMMA, and Health Dept. failed to get them sooner than this.
It's not common, any more; for law enforcement to apologize to the citizens they devote their careers to serve. And we perhaps have attorneys to blame for that. In civil courts an apology is almost like hanging out a "sue me" sign. And increasingly there are people willing to do just that. Devereaux has a duty to county taxpayers who would bear the burden of a civil judgment. Yes, the two defendants and their business associates did suffer both tangible and intangible damage. It's refreshing when an attorney offers such public extensions of 'gracious' acceptance of an apology. Our society needs more of that.
This author spends many hours each year in training cadets and CLEET certified peace officers. You can bet the good law enforcement units are extremely tough on themselves, given the impact of their decisions and conduct. It would be good if the public was more aware of the self-criticism that is persistent in their meetings.
Contrary to many peoples' instincts, Logan County will now be a safer doman for cannabis patients and industry transit. Sheriff Devereaux has demonstrated a virtue that several other domains (hello, Pawhuska) still lack: The humility to acknowledge that they are still learning and willingness to learn.