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The Violent Side of Marijuana

Back when Tom Allman was Sheriff, he would periodically appear at Board of Supervisors meetings and weigh in on the now officially certified failed Pot Ordinance.

At different times he told the Supes that growers “are laughing at you” due to the botched, non-enforced Ordinance. He equated the chaos surrounding it as creating a “County of Marijuana” instead of the County of Mendocino.

A couple of years ago, Allman spoke of 12 unsolved murders that were linked to marijuana. So just about everybody, with the exception of those County officials who are responsible for the unworkable Pot Ordinance, have been aware that violence has long been a byproduct of the unenforced Ganja Fiat.

Finally, there’s another County official besides me speaking out on the Ordinance that has never been enforced by the County.

This past Monday Sheriff Matt Kendall posted on Facebook a thought-provoking piece that pounds all the round pegs into the pegless round holes of the Cannabis Ordinance.

In less than a week’s span, North County communities experienced two separate invasions by heavily armed hardened criminals who felt perfectly at ease plotting and carrying out pot robberies that could have easily ended with multiple deaths of victims, including cops responding to the crime scenes.

Kendall says, “If the wildfires in our County being the worst in recorded history wasn’t distressing enough, crimes like the one that occurred yesterday, Sept. 27, 2020, also reflect some of the worst criminal activity our County has seen … Recently we learned of an incident where fire personnel have been threatened, intimidated and ordered by illegal marijuana growers to water their marijuana crops with water tenders, which have been dedicated to the fire suppression efforts. There has also been theft of water supply systems that have been put in place to draw water for fire suppression efforts in the field, thus cutting response times to get more water to the fire lines. Even more concerning to me, as we further investigate the kidnapping and robbery case which began on the Covelo Road, we learned these men were planning on murdering deputies if they were discovered and detained. These subjects were not residents of Mendocino County, coming from the state of Nevada and Riverside County California. However, they were drawn here by the lure of easy money. Monies that are funding the problems we are experiencing now. We see this time and time again. People from outside of Mendocino County and well outside of the law are continually drawn here like a moth to a flame. The suspects, in this case, were equipped with military-grade weapons, and body armor. They had planned to open fire on deputies with these weapons. Our brave men and women who serve Mendocino County aren’t paid to be murdered. I will not stand by and allow this to happen. I fear robberies, murder and constant threat to human life will become the new normal for Mendocino County if we don’t try to address the problem now. I have grown weary of hearing marijuana is a victimless crime. If this were true, we would not be dealing with murders and robberies clearly tied to marijuana. We can clearly see criminals lured by greed, and greed, in turn, leads to a marked increase in violence. Anything causing this much violence must be stopped.”

As someone who has spent his entire professional career working under two different regulatory frameworks (airline transportation and now public water utilities), I can tell you there are only two basic components to any regulatory scheme. There is a cohesive system of regulations and the means to enforce them. They fit like hand and glove. You can’t have one without the other. Yet, that has been the very situation this County has been in since the Cannabis Ordinance was enacted nearly four years ago.. The hand and the glove have never fit.

Just two weeks ago, Dennis Slota, former head of the Mendocino County Water Agency, addressed the Board at its meeting where the Pot Ordinance was once again under consideration.

Slota advised the Supes:

“We are aware of Humboldt growers moving to Mendocino County because Mendocino County does not enforce it’s Cannabis Ordinance. Humboldt County uses active enforcement based on evaluation of Google images, followed up with field inspection. … The contrast with Mendocino County’s lack of enforcement of a complaint-based system is striking and fiscally irresponsible. Many citizens decline to complain about a cannabis neighbor due to fear of retaliation. A majority of these complaints could be identified by active enforcement. It should not be the citizen’s obligation to enforce the law.”

Confirming Slota’s statement, Kendall’s Facebook post said, “I can’t count the number of calls we receive from residents in our rural areas who are tired of being intimidated and are tired of sheltering in their homes while armed subjects roam vast areas of the county protecting their crops. Gunfire is heard all night in the rural areas within our county. It is being used as a constant warning to anyone who would venture out of their homes in the evening and night.”

As one letter-to-the-editor writer pithily summarized the current situation:

“This cannabis season in Covelo has been an explosion of illegal cannabis cultivation in Covelo because: 1) Humboldt does a great job of enforcement and drives all the illegal grows to Covelo because Mendocino has no enforcement infrastructure like Humboldt (sophisticated satellite imaging and active pursuit of enforcement) to perform enforcement; 2) Mendocino County has no coherent cannabis permitting process.”

Ellen Drell, of the Willits Environmental Center, in a recent letter-to-the-editor urging the Supervisors to enforce the current ordinance, commented, “Though County voters supported legalization, they didn’t want cannabis to be the next “gold rush’ at the expense of the County’s environment — our open spaces, unpolluted night skies, shared rural values, or the health of the County’s wildlife and the survival of salmon and steelhead in our streams.”

Now we have Sheriff Kendall making the same points, with the same emphasis on enforcement.

Hopefully the Supervisors are receptive to the Sheriff’s spot-on analysis of their failed, unworkable, deliberately un-enforced Pot Ordinance that has resulted in this crisis. It’s time for all the talking to stop and the action to begin.

As Kendall put it, “I know our Board of Supervisors agrees with me that all Mendocino County residents deserve a better quality of life. I’m asking each of you to contact your Supervisor by reaching out to them on social media or just tag them in a comment. Let them know you stand with us in wanting all of us to live in a safer community.”

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:


  1. Me October 7, 2020

    We were farmers in Mendocino (potter Valley) since 2007.
    We were the first cannabis farm to get licensed and compliant with the county and state of California.
    It doesn’t matter. They came in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Fire, raids, robberies. Tom Allman and the whole entire sheriff’s department was in on the robberies. What wasn’t bagged up and ready for the corrupt cops, they came with a woodchipper and destroyed the entire crops.
    We are now in the process of suing the county and our civil rights attorney and us are taking them to Federal court.
    Have a great day. Mendoncino can burn for all I care.

    • Mark Wilkinson Laszlo October 8, 2020

      Me, please see my post here. I want to understand the history and motives of LEO policies, re: cannabis. Seems the LEO sector of government went beyond enforcing laws to become a law unto themselves. Seems like they acted illegally with similar motive as before legalization as after. Seems they miss busting people for breaking the law because it prospered them, but there’s more to it, even with C’s great medical value, many other uses and history. And part of the larger society still supports their suppression of it.

      I’ve posted a copy of an article from The Art of Maryjane magazine around Ukiah that proves, with a reference to a NIH abstract the government and drug cos knew cannabinoids make 3 types of human tumors shrink since 1973. I always ask permission to post it, but someone always takes it down.

      It may have been potter Valley where the nocturnal raids i read about years ago happened.

      I read C’s usefulness in treating epilepsy was known in America since 1948, but that too, was suppressed.

      George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew and experimented with C. as a medicine, Washington said all farmers should grow it to prosper the nation, but it’s still suppressed.

      There seem to be several motives at play for the inky squareness going on. Answers need be demanded of cops, oligarchs & vested interests.

      Good luck with your case!

  2. Mark Wilkinson Laszlo October 7, 2020


    It was in 2016 or before, when i had read
    about unmarked cars with baklava veiled,
    uninsignia’d, unbadged guys stealing legally
    grown cannabis at gunpoint around Covelo
    at night; and at a meeting with growers ‘of
    a kind that can only happen in Mendocino
    county’ (UDJ) Tom Allman said he had no
    idea who was doing it, i think i saw the

    I saw them in the SBMC main branch &
    leaving it in uniforms. They had a federal
    marshall’s car. They looked like 4F wan-
    nabe cops.

    One was fat with a posture and expression
    of childish arrogance, puffed up. like Mar-
    shall Zukof with his medals.

    Seemed i was there when they collected
    their pay and went on to commit such
    crimes in a different area, because i did
    not get news of that kind of robbery after
    that, that growers believed LEOs had

    Was that M.O. used in the period you
    refer to, that is, at night, with unmarked
    cars, baklavas, no insignia or badges,
    with an impression of assumed legal

    And how do you know Tom Allman was
    involved in robbing or busting legal grows?

    Did uniformed Mendocino County deputies
    or other uniformed LEOs destroy legal plants
    by day, after such masked night robberies
    of bagged buds had happened?

  3. Mark Wilkinson Laszlo October 8, 2020

    Alcohol and tobacco are yet more culturally accepted, although both cause millions of deaths and alcohol makes many people violent, while cannabis makes people feel peaceful and not one person has ever died from an overdose. Those are established facts.

    IMHO, Cannabis legalization has not stopped the violence attending it’s trade because over regulation with some bad motives, like not wanting to make legalization work, except for those already rich, has not put criminals out of the trade.

    IT before legalization, making it a crime to grow and distribute C. and government propaganda hammered into people’s heads made people think of the trade as a crime, so those doing it did so like criminals. But
    now Milo Minderbinders make it hard for ethical small scale farmers to succeed, treating them like criminals, lumping them together with the real criminals who spoil the trade. It is a simplistic distortion to say cannabis causes crime. Like many assumptions hammered into people’s minds, it insults intelligence. It is propaganda for the dumbed down. MJ does not cause crime. Bad government causes crime.

    Considering the hideous strength of the US government, how can the real criminals among growers and sellers operate? IT both before and after legalization, The govt’s law and policy are contrived to keep illegal rackets going. They shut some down, but no matter how draconian the govt gets, other criminals crop up in the trade. There’s no end to the government’s legal racket of prosecuting illegal rackets they create conditions to exist.

    If the People organized in a grassroots way to suppress the criminals regionally and locally, it could be done. The government that has grown catastrophically powerful, against the warnings of it’s founders, is almost totally out of control of the People. The only way for the People to ever rule again is to rise from the ashes when the subverted government we groan under has weakened itself by destroying the world as we know it.

    And trusting the UN to carry guns for us will make us even less free.

    The US govt and allies started WWIII with miniaturized H-bombs in West Asia by 2003. It will come home as soon as election day.

    And BTW, i’m totally strait, sober and sane. I just made it my business to find the truth of public hazards that govt & big media cover up for many years, like nothing else mattered.

    The system has prevented most from affording full preps, but Geiger counters are cheap now online. Everyone do what you can to prep ethically now.

    Search youtube: A Female Faust (channel), video tab, “Did the US use a tactical nuke in Iraq? (1)” See CNN’s own stamped video to veiw the closest 2 unmistakably nuclear explosions videoed in the bombardment of Baghdad in 2003. Listen to the brave crew’s salty emotional reactions and words, when they knew they had scooped the biggest story since Hiroshima, that the long restraint of all nuclear powers since 1945, from using nuclear weapons in warfare, that prevented uncontrollable escalation to total, global war, is over.

    Search youtube: “nuke baghdad”. “nuke Syria” “nuke yemen”. See similar videos listed, not of sims or tests, but real nukes used on people.

    The illustrious savants who designed the USA were humble and called it “an experiment”. Washington, Jefferson and Franklin warned it could become a tyranny. It was so liberating for most people, a democratic republic inspiring the world. Yet an artifact of the Enlightenment of Reason movement, it’s philosophy is flawed by putting the allopathic method of problem solving before all others, so it multiplies it’s problems as it compensates for them. Nuclear deterrence was bound to fail from the start. Our subverted government is now seen as the greatest existential threat to the world. Some day soon, It’s targets with WMDs will use them on us, seeing nothing to lose.

    Donald Trump, the mad Russian agent, has disrupted the USA and it’s alliances many ways. Now he is knowingly, personally, spreading COVID19 from the WH, to top civilian and military govt leaders. The Joint Chiefs of staff are in quarantine. Vote for your conscience, but Republican cheats and bullies will make the election even more distracting than otherwise to signs of attacks on the USA from abroad. Election Day would be the best opportunity for those nations most threatened by the USA to attack us. Vote early.

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