A Talk With Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko


When voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996, California became one of two states to decriminalize marijuana on a medical basis. (Arizona voters passed the similar Proposition 200 on the same day.) Proponents of medical cannabis didn’t have long to rejoice, however: In 1997, the Clinton administration let it be known that doctors who issued prescriptions for medical marijuana would forfeit their authorizations to prescribe federally regulated narcotics. A federal judge ruled against enforcement of the Clinton administration’s policy, but the Bush administration later renewed a hard line against state medical marijuana laws, insisting that state laws regarding federally regulated drugs were invalid in the face of federal law.

For medical cannabis advocates, the election of Barack Obama brought the hope of a softening of federal policy. Indeed, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated in February of this year that the Justice Department would no longer raid medical marijuana establishments authorized under state law. (Holder reiterated the Justice Department’s more tolerant stance in October, saying, “It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana.”) Medical cannabis advocates cheered, and medical marijuana establishments proliferated. But once again, the celebration may have been premature.

Fourteen states now have laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and California leads the nation in the number of medical marijuana dispensaries. In some locales, though, the battle against them seems to be intensifying, through increased law enforcement action, municipal ordinances, and local zoning enactments.

California first decriminalized marijuana in 1976, and Proposition 215 followed 20 years later. You might be surprised, then, to learn that 2008 saw 78,000 people arrested in the state for marijuana violations. That’s an increase of about 14,000 arrests over 2006. I think it’s safe to assume that many thousands of people learned the hard way that Proposition 215, The Compassionate Use Act of 1996, often falls short as a legal panacea for marijuana users.

Redding Chief of Police Peter Hansen recently made a splash in the news when he sent letters to nine medical marijuana dispensaries, reminding them that marijuana is still illegal under federal law and mentioning the possibility of penalties of up to 20 years in prison. In that light, I thought it important to get the thoughts of the Sheriff of Shasta County, Tom Bosenko.

Shasta County voters elected Bosenko in 2006, following Jim Pope’s 15-year tenure holding the office. Before taking office as sheriff, he was the Sheriff Department’s Patrol Division captain. He has served with the Sheriff’s Department for 30 years.


HJ: Sheriff Bosenko, what is your stance on medical marijuana dispensaries?


Tom Bosenko: I’m opposed to them. Dispensaries are illegal under the law, both state and federal, while cooperatives and collectives must adhere to strict rules and guidelines from the Attorney General. Most, if not all of them, are not complying with those guidelines, so they’re operating illegally. In fact, several law enforcement agencies throughout the state have conducted investigations and sweeps, and have discovered that the majority are operating illegally. Also, we have information indicating that organized crime is involved in the distribution of medical marijuana.

HJ: Has the Sheriff’s office conducted interviews with those doctors who write recommendations for medical marijuana?

Bosenko: We have contacted some of them to make them aware of what’s required of them, and to ensure that those patients issued recommendations are qualified for them under the law.

HJ: Some proponents of medical marijuana suggest that an increase in the number of medical marijuana clinics will actually take money away from organized crime, while adding to the tax base. How would you respond?

Bosenko: It’s unlikely that their proliferation would take money away from organized crime. Look at alcohol and cigarettes: Both are legal and taxed, and yet organized crime continues to make money off of them by transporting them across state lines to sell in the black market. A proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries and co-ops would not eliminate trafficking, but would instead create a new market — a market for tax-free marijuana. Organized crime may, over time, become more involved in this lucrative market, and medical marijuana “businesses” could find themselves targeted, or at the very least, under the unwelcome influence of organized crime.

HJ: I’ve heard that gang members have pulled up to dispensaries in moving vans, raided the establishments at gunpoint, and have made off with marijuana and money. Is that true?

Bosenko: Yes. That’s happened at dispensaries, co-ops, and Proposition 215-authorized grow sites, and some people have been murdered during some of those raids. Others have suffered serious injuries. Already, a medical marijuana establishment has been burglarized right here in Redding.

HJ: What would you say to people who feel that marijuana is a safe drug?

Bosenko: I believe that if people will look in depth at the sound medical and scientific research concerning the short and long-term effects of marijuana, they’ll be less inclined to look at it as a benign drug — or as a medicine.

HJ: Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

Bosenko: Marijuana is still illegal both within the state and federally. I have zero tolerance for illegal drugs, and the Sheriff’s office will continue efforts against criminal activities.


You might think, What does he mean, “Marijuana is still illegal both within the state and federally”? If marijuana is still illegal, how could over twenty medical marijuana facilities operate in Redding? Proposition 215 made marijuana legal for people holding a doctor’s recommendation, right?

Well, not exactly. Marijuana is still illegal by federal and state law. Proposition 215 didn’t make marijuana legal for anyone. Instead, it granted immunity from prosecution for qualified patients, their caregivers, and for people who associate with the purpose of providing marijuana to those who qualify. That immunity from prosecution comes with conditions, such as limits on quantities and the requirement that the user get a doctor’s authorization once a year.

The battle between opponents of medical cannabis and its advocates is far from over.

Next: A Talk with Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project.



Hal Johnson escaped from southern California 16 years ago and lives in Shasta County with his wife and son. He’s an offshore helicopter pilot who often finds writing more frightening than flying.

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45 Responses

  1. Avatar Daryl says:

    Now there's a surprise, a Sheriff who's against Cannabis legalization. I'd be curious as to what reports he's citing saying that Cannabis is NOT benign, or MEDICINE. The funny thing is, every report I've read (accept the ones published by private or govenment organizations such as the DEA, Drug Free America, dare, ect…) all say the exact opposite of what Sheriff Bosenco is saying. I mean call me crazy but I think I'd be more inclined to listen to a DOCTOR over a cop when it comes to things of a medical nature. The American Medical Association is reverseing its stance on the classification of Cannabis, but we're supposed to believe the Sheriff's dept has our health in mind?

    It's just another case of, "It's easier to take down (and harass) a car full of giggling stoners, then to take down a Meth lab, Cocaine suplier, or Illegal perscription ring, to keep the government WAR FUND coming in to Tom's pocket."

    Oh and his scare tactic, about the "violence" behind the co-ops, or the places getting robbed? They are only a frightning truth because Cannabis is illegal. Honestly people we need to stop wageing war on ourselves.

    So I imagine that ol' Tom here is for the complete illegalization, of Alcohol, Tobacco, Caffiene, Viagra, Ciealis…. I could go on and on nameing completly legal substances, that not only have absolutely no medical value, but also cause thousands of deaths per year. Ironically the only death associated with Cannabis is from either the gun toteing members of the black market, or trigger happy LEOs like the good Sheriff here. Not one single individual has ever lost their life from the consumption of Cannabis in the thousands of years humans have been using it.

    But oh please DO NOT take my word on any of this. please do your own research, draw your own conclusions, and please America start thinking for yourselves!

  2. Avatar Chuck says:


  3. Avatar Elle Bough says:

    Once again, an "official" is spewing his opinion as fact. The FACT is, our own government conducted a study on the medicinal benefits of marijuana and concluded that it DOES have scientific and medical merit and SHOULD be made available to those who could be helped due to chronic anxiety, pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea due to chemotherapy or other medications, and the list goes on. Google IOM and a link will take you to this study. It doesn't take much research to find that this is a beneficial medicine. Unfortunately, due to superstitious religious beliefs, it takes an ignorant person only a couple of minutes to spread more lies.

  4. Avatar Uncle E says:

    Hal, congrats on joining forces with the fine folks over here. I think you'll find it a friendly place, save for that wacky cartoonist with a penchant for clowns and Sarah Palin. Excellent interview, my man! Look forward to the next one!

  5. Avatar J P Adams says:

    "Wacky cartoonists" are lovable. Sheriffs who ignore majority wisdom are not.

  6. Avatar TYC says:

    I agree with Chuck. Next time you need a doctor…be sure to call a cop to make sure you're getting the right treatment. Geez, you couldn't make this stuff up. Time to take control of drugs and other medical options away from law enforcement. You see, a law enforcement curriculum doesn't have any medical classes. So, exactly where do they get their medical experience?

  7. Avatar Doug Bennett says:

    I think Daryl is on the right track. Remember this is the Sheriff Bosenko that went to the White House to receive an award for gathering tons of pot out of the forests (and legal growers homes) and received hundreds of thousands of dollars and aid from the Bush administration (DEA, DHS, IRS task forces). His statement about legality at the state level is simply an attempt to keep the public confused. Medical marijuana is part of the state health code.
    Medical marijuana is legal in 14 states, and the California law has been tested all the way to the Supreme Court and upheld. What Bosenko and his other evangelical drug warriors (remember our DA, Bosenko and Ken Murray on the courthouse steps launching the "spiritual" war on Muslims?) can't stand is that rationality is returning to the federal government. I can't say for sure, but my guess is a half-black man in the White House scares the Hell out of these people. Racial/cultural bias takes many forms: White Supremacy, American exceptionalism, bigotry, racial purity, hegemony, selective law enforcement and religious intolerance among them.
    The Chinese have a saying: "You don't make your self any taller by cutting off the heads of others." So, when you hear this type of unsubstantiated or downright biased rhetoric the warning lights should go off.
    Local law enforcement is looking for a way to continue to harass these people (mostly legal growers if you believe Chief Hansen). The fact that we allow it is the real shame. Shame on us.

  8. Avatar Ann Webber says:

    I really appreciate your featuring this article. We need to be aware of how poorly informed our "Public Servants" are in Shasta County. Perhaps we could get some information from people on the other side of this issue. Keep up the good work.

  9. Avatar Kim says:

    "A proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries and co-ops would not eliminate trafficking, but would instead create a new market — a market for tax-free marijuana."

    How is this a new market??? Isn't this the market that has existed previously for marijuana? Just because there is now a taxed market for marijuana doesn't change the previously untaxed market so drastically to say that it is new.

    I have personally witnessed many accounts of people who have been greatly helped by marijuana for medical use. And so many of them are terrified that they are going to somehow be persecuted for the one thing that is helping them live without pain, anxiety, depression, etc.

    It is so sad that officials are so poorly informed and close-minded. Spend a day trying to really understand what's at the heart of medical marijuana… the patient's.

  10. Avatar Alan Ernesto Phillip says:

    Great job Hal!
    (I am your newest fan!!)

    Wow! Sometimes, it's not so much fun to hear the truth or differing opinion – and it can be difficult to just take a breath, stand back for a minute… and keep a cool head. I see that same sort of thing from the chronically-angry right-wingist, where it's always a negative retort, disparaging remark or base name-calling when a moderate or (God forbid) a LIBERAL exercises their constitutional right to 'free speech' while telling the truth or offering a dissenting opinion from the status quo.

    As in any "Gold Rush," the con-artists will lobby, rationalize and even theologize indulgence. The prohibitionists will whine, spin, preach and proselytize. In the 1970's I actually supported the early designs to make marijuana use available for the chronically ill. Clearly pharmacologically efficacious for terminally ill people under various chemo-therapies, (THC) is very effective in reducing nausea and increasing appetite. I still support research that would clearly – and scientifically – prove the pro's and the CONs of medical marijuana use for the truly ill. But, at what cost would it be for those less ill?

    In my little, arguable yet professional opinion, Sheriff Bosenko is quite correct and is offering a good and healthy public service in presenting his highly practiced, professional, science-based position. I would be terribly hurt if any evidence turned up that supports the hateful suggestions that our law-enforcement leaders were somehow theologizing or Bushizing any bastardization of the laws of our land. (I truly believe that Hansen, Bosenko and Benito know very well that God would be mightily disappointed if they ever sinned that way.)

    Respectfully, I find it somewhat hypocritical however, to hear people shoot-off, half-cocked about their inference that our Sheriff is somehow practicing medicine, advising regarding pharmacology or theology. Tsk, tsk, tsk. In his statement for Hal's article Sherrif Bosenko is citing factual, contemporary information! Please… re-read his response before condeming or misrepresenting Sherrif Bosenko's statement: "Bosenko: I believe that if people will look in depth at the sound medical and scientific research concerning the short and long-term effects of marijuana, they’ll be less inclined to look at it as a benign drug — or as a medicine."

    Daryl's uninformed venom won't convince this reader until he/she shows me the reports he/she is citing that state no one has ever "died" from pot use… Just a few short years ago my niece, Alicia, a beautiful Shasta High School student, was KILLED by her pot-smoking classmate after showing-off his "coolness" and losing control of the car he was driving… that's DEAD Daryl! We still ache from the loss of our precious-one, and my little brother still goes up to her grave and lays with her, inconsolable… A FACT!

    The courts, probation, parole and other social service agencies have encouraged or even mandated people to the various classes I have facilitated. As a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor (and having worked with thousands of people and hundreds of families in distress for over ten years) I have had a sometimes troublesome yet fascinating perspective on other forms of "death" associated with marijuana use. I have worked with children and families who have suffered the significant losses of their life's vision or died emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically as a direct artifact of marijuana use, somewhere in their lives. The youngest, frequent marijuana user referred to me with a dead life's vision was just eight years old! (Not forgetting of course the absolute horrors and DEATHS that do occur as a result from suicide, gang activity, booby-trapped pot-farms and prison time.)

    Now, I am not a prohibitionist, Daryls of California: People have the right to drink alcohol in this country. That's fine – I just wish they would drink more responsibly sometimes. (It could take away some of the negative artifacts of alcohol use while improving the PR-power of that controlled product.) People also have the right to smoke tobacco – I just wish they wouldn't do it within eyeshot of any child. (There is just no helping the negative consequences of that 'legal' product…)

    Various Cancers do happen equally, without prejudice, from tobacco and pot smoking! If marijuana someday becomes legalized for recreational use I know that Sheriff Tom Bosenko and Chief Peter Hansen (RPD) will support and defend the laws of our great land – just like they are doing today! However unpopular that may be for some right now, I completely support their cautious approach, respective guidance and protective policies. Yet, for now, I just don't think I've been convinced the research has been conclusive enough to support "medical use" beyond the terminally ill or recreational use of marijuana. There are people who suffer terribly and do DIE from pot use – people who never smoked tobacco yet have been diagnosed with head, neck, throat, esophageal and other cancers as a direct result of pot use.

    Just like other drugs, pot has its promise and problems that must be reasoned out. I watch people offering the best intentions while strapping their children snuggly and 'safely' in the car seat before starting off on their journey into a sometimes risky environment. Then, right before they drive off, the cigarette gets lit… First hand smoke, second hand smoke and third hand smoke can kill! We didn't know that fact until it was too late for many generations. I know a woman who frequently drives her 13 year old daughter to a variety of bars (that serve food on "Family Night") and gets drunk with other patrons before driving back home. Well, I guess, since we can't act responsibly around our children some silly bureaucrats have to start a DUI enforcement program or seat-belt law or no-smoking-in-the-car ordinance for our children's sake. I do believe that pot use needs to be examined a bit more carefully. Until the AMA can come up with a science-based "medical marijuana" pro/con position, the insurance industry buys-in, politicians get their cuts and the DSM-4 becomes supportive, we must patiently recognize the current science and laws of the land. Meanwhile, the ubiquitous 'Bad Apples' shadowing the "medical marijuana Gold Rush" will spoil the bunches, unless they can be controlled.

    Our children learn more from what their elders model or 'do' than from what their elders 'say'. Only an adult could come up with the expression of "quality time." For a child, ALL time is quality time – and if we teach them while we are frequently under the influence… what are we really teaching them? If our children see us chiseling and lying for a "pot prescription" because our "backs hurt" or because we have a "bad day"… what are we really teaching them? There is safety within boundaries. And our children know it! Thank you Sheriff Bosenko and Chief Peter Hansen for working so hard to keep us safe!

    Dear Daryls of the world, Propaganda can be bilateral. I think the various information, research, politics, rationalizations, and theologies are overabundant. We can sometimes rationalize only to believe what we want to believe rather than subscribe to the truth we need. How can we cut through the clutter? For those who practice neutrality in researching the service of those in true medical need: by evidence of this blog, we urgently need your good work. We must, all of us, think this through before we punish a differing opinion – or to deny a needy person some relief. But, come on, most people who smoke pot do so to get high and to experience the effects of THC. In the meantime, I wish that everyone can be responsible in how you recreate – or self medicate – and to soberly-teach our children… we are leaving them to survive in an increasingly very Toxic Culture.

    Here's another 'saying' for you:

    "No one ever benefits and nothing truly grows,
    when those opposed and can't back up,
    are standing nose to nose."

    Happy Holidays!

    • Avatar J P Adams says:


      Wow! In all due respect, you make a lot of statements here. Many are unquestionable, some- apparently based on real life experiences and some (basically) unfounded.

      I'm a little confused. You say, "There are people who suffer terribly and do DIE from pot use – people who never smoked tobacco yet have been diagnosed with head, neck, throat, esophageal and other CANCERS as a direct result of pot use."

      … Can you give specific examples on this one? Ive searched and see no documentation of any such connection.

    • Avatar Daryl says:

      OK, here's one:

      And I quote, "8.An exhaustive search of the literature finds no credible reports of deaths induced by marijuana. The US Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) records instances of drug mentions in medical examiners' reports, and though marijuana is mentioned, it is usually in combination with alcohol or other drugs. Marijuana alone has not been shown to cause an overdose death."

      And that my friend is just ONE! G'ahead google til your hearts content, You will not find one single casualty caused from an over consumption of Cannabis (asprin and Peanutbutter crackers can't even boast those numbers)!

      As for your loss I am sorry.

      But that Pot could have just as easily been Alcohol, Perscription Meds, or My personal favorite blight on humanity, CAFFIENE. An idiot under the influence of anything (and consequently under no influence of anything) is still an idiot!

      Do I think kids should be smoking pot? NO! During adolesence is when the human brain begins some of the biggest changes it's ever done since it's formation in the womb. Any substance that would impead or challange those changes should not be imbibed. Thats why I burn red when I walk into any store (anywhere around the world) and see those oh so large and colorful cans of liquid death with the snappy (geared towards children) names.

      I can't stand Caffiene, I didn't like soda as a child, and I don't drink coffee as an adult. I personally think anyone who consumes it (my wife included) is a FOOL.

      BUT…. I would fight to my dying breath so your can enjoy your AM (afternoon/evening) Latte! Because that is the point… in a free country a person should be free to do what makes them happy as long as that individual is not hurting or damageing another person or person's property.

      But not here, not now. We live in a free country… as long as you play by THE rules, and if you don't we lock you away, take everything away, and make sure your life in these great United States is crushed. And this little tidbit is a FACT I got to experience first hand 8 years ago when I was arrested for possesion of a roach (thats less than a gram of Cannabis)! It was then when I suffered through endless legal battles, then probation, and by recommendation of the state (big surprise, there) AA meetings. It was in those meetings that I found the true Hypocrisy of the laws against Cannabis, so thanks to the state I was turned into the anti-prohibtionist you see here today (and yes I did succesfully complete the program, have the cert to prove it).

      One last quote for you Alan,

      "Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."

      -Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) U.S. President.

      Sorry my words are "venom" to you, but like mom always said, "Truth hurts."

      • Avatar John Dinkins RN says:

        In case all you opinion types ever want to forget the real world… from a !5 yr Hospice Nurse, People die from too much air and too much water out there in the medical world, It's called hyper this hypo that.

        After years of caring for the death and dying including my beloved wife (Hospice) I have never run into ANY single chemical singularly more useful when marijuana when discussing the horrors of dying from cancer backed up with RADIATION and CHEMOTHRAPY 'treatments. AND, lets not forget' the handfuls of mass doses of hardcore analgesics given out like jellybeans.

        Get past the goofy Prohibition nonsense And try thinking in the dark before sleep what you will think when this horror of cancer comes knocking at your door and one of Gods Herbs will take this hell away for even a few minutes and let you live what is left in piece.

        Remember the one about seeing the forest for the trees? Cops Should stay out of healing and doctors should stop trying to be cops PERIOD.

        Who can really whine about pot when booze and other legal garbage kills more humans in 10 seconds, on this planet then, all the pot ever grown for 5,000 years, mind you.

    • Avatar Doug Bennett says:

      You say, "The courts, probation, parole and other social service agencies have encouraged or even mandated people to the various classes I have facilitated. As a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor"
      So, to parse this, you receive income directly related to those arrested by Sheriff Bosenko and chief Hansen? Very few people ever recognize the error of something that might reduce their paycheck.
      Some of what you say is interesting. The extreme fawning over law enforcement, parole and probation offices says more about you than them. The fact you work with these agencies actually reduces your credibility.
      Does the word, sycophant, have any meaning for you?

      • Avatar Hal Johnson says:

        First, I had to look up "sycophant" on the dictionary loaded in my computer. It said, "A person who acts obsequiously toward someone in order to gain advantage; a servile flatterer." Then I had to look up "obsequiously." Now I'm getting a headache.

        • Avatar Doug Bennett says:

          Let me put it in plain language.
          Sycophant = boot licker or k_ss _ss
          Take two aspirin, and check your thesaurus 😉

  11. Avatar Jim Dyar says:

    The Washington Post recently published an interesting article detailing how Mexican drug organizations have been losing huge chunks of their revenue stream thanks to mom and pop marijuana growers in the U.S.
    The cartels also ship dangerous drugs into our country like cocaine, heroin and meth, but marijuana (which has helped countless cancer survivors recover, and people like Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Merle Haggard write great songs for decades) remains the cartels' biggest money maker. Even if marijuana was fully legal in the U.S., I'm sure Mexican drug cartels could figure out some way to make some money of the trade, as Bosenko states. But as it stands now, they make massive fortunes and continue their bloody violent regimes.
    The recent ease in marijuana restrictions in the U.S. has already damaged the funding source of the Mexican cartels and that's a good thing.
    It's interesting to note how much money the Shasta County Sheriff's Office can recover from major drug money seizures. If the cartels go broke, those seizures go away. Think about that cycle for a moment.
    It makes sense to go after the members of the cartels growing and operating in this country, while at the same time easing the restrictions and enforcement on mom and pop growers who can help wipe out the cartels' funding source.
    Doesn't it?

  12. Avatar pmarshall says:

    Most anything can be justified if we talk and talk. This does not necesarily make it "right".

  13. Avatar TYC says:

    … OK, here’s another simple ’saying’ for you:

    Simple choice.

    You can argue the pro and con points all day long and you will still be left with the fact that either the drug gangs or the gov't will distribute cannabis. You can talk about messages, children, age appropriate access, the law is the law, what part about illegal don't you understand, addiction, family problems, etc…but the bottom line is that cannabis will be distributed…either by the drug gangs or the gov't…but someone will distribute cannabis. People want it. That's how cannabis became the largest cash crop in 14 states. All under the noses of the police, dea, cia, border patrol, and (insert laugh here) GED educated homeland security personnel (seriously, that's all they require…a GED, scary).

    Like the system currently in place? Then the drug gangs get to distribute. Want something different? Then the gov't gets to distribute. Cannabis will be distributed. Who do you want to do it? I say keep the drug gangs out, legalize, regulate, and collect taxes.

    See? Simple.

  14. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Allen Phillips, You're so full of it. What a bunch of BS. The law is the law and our good Sheriff Tom is bound to uphold it.

    California and 12 other states have passed laws to allow legal selling of med weed, pure and simple but you and other distractors want to debate the issue to the point of nausea.

    Where's your humility and kindness to your fellows who might need this for their illness?

    Try to be kind to people this holiday season!

    Merry Christmas.

  15. Avatar JeffG says:

    if you're causin' no harm, then you're alright with me.

  16. Avatar BiggerThanYou says:

    If this guy was voted in then simply recall him in a special election.! Clearly he has come to the conclusion all medical cannabis patients are diseased fiends just as untouchable as a person with leprosy. Step up to the plate man and recall your politicians/elected officals or be content to be viewed as a lazy pot head drug fiend and just bend over boy and take it.

  17. Avatar BiggerThanYou says:

    Anytime someone has fear of you take advantage of it and continue to confront them in non-violent ways…it works and they do back down…take it from me a former West Texas small town bully.

  18. Avatar Pat j. says:

    Who needs another bad habit !!!! And, it is illegal !!! Evidentally there are many Drs. willing to write prescriptions. What happened to Do No Harm??

  19. Avatar Teresa says:

    Two thoughts….

    If Bosenko thinks it is illegal he is going to arrest people for it. Ultimately, you end up in jail with a paperwork nightmare of fighting all the way to the supreme court for years down the road. Sp 20 yrs from now after you have lost everything you ever had he will be proven wrong…it really should have been legal. At that point it didn't really matter, did it? I think medical use should be legal, but since he gets to make arrests, based on his interpretation of the law, his interpretation is really the only that matters in Shasta County right now!

    Also, the argument about whether pot kills is such an old story. Look back at just a few of the arguments from the tobacco council. For decades they argued that cigs are not bad for you. Well, that is TRUE. That little white thing with the sometimes brown end on it won't hurt you a bit. Now, put it in your mouth and start it on fire??? That's another story. The killer is the smoke, same in both cases here. That goes for second hand smoke as well…… You know? Same old story, different day….Guns don't kill people, it's the bullets that cause harm so we shouldn't come against guns? Oh…come on. These are juvenile arguments that we all know better of. Oh, before any of my friends have a stroke or something, I also support my constitutional right to carry a gun. I was just making the point.

    The day the entire stated voted for something and then the state government wouldn't abide by it was a very sad day for us. It has now happened several times since then and has turned our voting process into a joke that our forefathers would be sick over.

  20. Avatar Guy Haley says:

    My thoughts can be summed up quite nicely in this paragraph from Ayn Rand in her novel Atlas Shrugged
    "Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against… We're after power and we mean it… There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be
    much easier to deal with." ('Atlas Shrugged' 1957)

    I believe that explains everything precisely as it is. So many false assumptions have been made throughout the responses here. Follow the money. We live in a society that proudly proclaims our distain for the horrors attributed to drunk driving, yet bars are everywhere open every night serving up liquid drugs to folks who are then going to drive home. A lot of things in this world did not make sense to me as a child when I used to believe the words that people said rather than the actions they undertook, As I have grown older and watched more than listen I understand that EVERYTHING is about the Money. If you look at it from that standpoint you can throw out all the health statistics because that isn't the point anyway. Things get much clearer when you break it down to dollars and cents. Less Criminals equals less income equals less manpower. The good Sheriff would be doing his fellow employees and bosses a great disservice if he responded in any other way.

    • Avatar J P Adams says:

      Well said.

    • Avatar Liz Earnest says:

      Funny, I had just stepped away from this article thinking the following thought, "There are people who want to rule themselves, and then there are people who want to rule others and make them follow rules." Then I come back to the article to read your comment and the quote from Atlas Shrugged. I choose to rule myself. I choose to teach my children the rules I live by, and I hope but do not expect that they will adopt and live by the same rules. The rules I govern myself by change as I learn and grow from my experiences. I hope my children will develope thinking/judgement skills to learn and grow from their experiences. I understand that rules and laws do not protect me. The only serve to punish. They do not stop the thief, nor the crazies of the world. They do not protect me from the evil that can abide in mankind. Rules and laws do not protect me from the negligence or stupidities of others. They can only be used to punish and segregate, the laws do not teach or change people. We have become a society dependent on laws to teach morals and behavior. Our society (in general) has developed a false sense of security from our laws, and as a result become a complacent, non-thinking group.

  21. Avatar Concerned Parent says:

    The marijuana debate is not just about medicine. It's about who will control the distribution of marijuana and whether it will be sold to children or only to adults. The system we have isn't working; the criminals target our children in order to turn them into drug addicts as a steady stream of income.

    It's time to drive a wedge between the criminal drug dealers and our kids. Licensing, taxing, and regulating the distribution of marijuana, whether for medical or other purposes, is the surest way to put the criminal drug dealers out of business and protect our children from the money-hungry criminal element. It’s time to protect our children and take the marijuana business out of the hands of criminals. License, tax, and regulate the marijuana business, medical or otherwise. And while we’re at it, let’s implement a personal cultivation permit. Limit the size of the growing area or the number of plants, and put a small user-fee on it to cover administrative costs, something like a fishing license. Maybe high enough that there will be a little something left over for education or fixing the roads.

    One possibility:$100 per year for a permit to cultivate a dozen plants.

    It's a win-win.

  22. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Teresa, my dear. You, in my opinion, should smoke some more dobbies and go to sleep. Your diatribe against the high Sheriff makes no since. Good night Pookie!

  23. Avatar Uncle E says:

    "Doobies", Budd, "Doobies"…


  24. Avatar Capt. Recall says:

    Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko has some serious dark fears of pot fiends, it drives him to a level of disparity unseen in most people who live in our laid back State.
    What the heck a country bumpkin like Tombo could never conduct a real investigation involving hard criminals. I've seen it before their hands shake when they administer affidavits much less facing a real mean bully type of criminal.
    Give a boy a gun and he thinks he's a man…lol

  25. Avatar Quality Control Cert says:

    It's happening all over, everywhere people from across American are responding favorable to cannabis!

    Generally it is the religious prohibitionists beating there chests and screaming about how it's against Federal law to use cannabis.
    Those 19th century scare mongers have been placed directly into the light where everyone can recognize their agenda's and see them now for who they actually are.

    Also placed into the light are the recommendations from the AMA and many more Physicians and Scientific organizations who believe cannabis may have life saving healing properties and needs to be re-scheduled to allow more life saving medical research.

    Just yesterday the DEA removed old AMA documentation recommending cannabis be kept on Schedule 1 status from their web site.

    This is the 21st century and things have changed you can join the rest of civilization or be left behind in the last century…just keep in mind if you have a family they will see you as contrary to the norm…because that's the way we American’s roll baby!

  26. Avatar AntiAdvocate says:

    Why do people get their kids and pets stoned ?


    • Avatar Anti Hypocrite says:

      After visiting and reading all the propaganda on that site all I could think of was, "Okay, playing by your rules, if all pot smokers are dope fiends then all clergy men are pedophiles."
      I am grateful for your link though, it serves as great reminder of why I do not frequent organizations of this type. Looks to me like you guys are trying to burn another witch.

  27. Avatar Alan Ernesto Phillip says:

    “JESUS SMOKED MEDICAL MARIJUANA!” What a wonderfully different conversation we might be having at present, were that true. First, Daryls and Doug Bennetts, I think it is very reasonable to question my sources, personal and professional experience. The adolescent name-calling and character-attacks don’t really help healthy discussion. It’s so Republican of you, and quite passé! 😉

    Regarding the disturbing attempt to impugn my integrity with the quite urbanely framed accusation that I am a sycophant ('butt-kisser’), I have never taken a dime from the SO or from RPD. The poor souls that were sent to my classes were sent because ‘self-medicating’ had sad, illegal and unhealthy outcomes that robbed them of a brighter future. I am spiritually – not religiously – rewarded to co-guide people back to what was there original homeostasis. I am a wounded healer and it is my calling to help those in trouble; and I was damn good at it! My praises for our good Sheriff and our good Chief of Police in Redding comes from an active, first-hand experience in serving as the elected Public Affairs Officer and member of the Board of Directors for the NORTHERN CALIFORNIA HISPANIC LATINO COALITION (as a six-year volunteer). While my opportunities to see these Public Safety professionals in action may have been too limited for your preferences, I was a 10-year witness to their consistent passion, professionalism, intentionality and bravery in making decisions that attempt to keep us safe. Before I was laid off last June from my part time job as a Parenting Educator and as a Youth Counselor, I was paid in part from federal and state public health-related grants, and public donations. Social-enrichment funding for workers like me seems to be going to fund wars and prisons. I am 45% permanently disabled, suffer significant, chronic back and leg pain (I refuse to use any psychoactive drugs to get by – I do use the miracle drug, “Celebrex”). So I am not physically able to bend over to kiss any butt to get ANY job with law enforcement. Or any employer it seems for that matter, in these desperate days…

    Okay – for you Daryl… Let’s completely forget about the overly-abundant negative social impacts and the harmful behaviors leading to known misery, deaths and costs directly associated with Marijuana use and the predictable risky behavior: We had hundreds of years to study by trial and error, anecdotally and scientifically to counter the false assertions by the PROFITEERS of Alcohol and Tobacco. Regarding Marijuana morbidity, co-morbidity and mortality studies, I completely agree that much more scientific study is needed! Many people seem keen on comparing marijuana effects (positive and negative) to tobacco and alcohol. When the current scientific studies on marijuana sets the new standard (if that’s possible) it may well support or invalidate what I preach & practice. Please go to the Library and check out the DSM-IV: There’s a whole section for ya completely dedicated to Marijuana use! Forget about the anecdotal and first-hand experiences of my practice. Until the Law and science changes positions I have a pretty solid standard and opinion.

    For mel… science and the LAW – while arguably imperfect at times – are quite clear to me and I will comply and speak out. If you made the choice to use marijuana illegally – and to got CAUGHT! possessing an illegal drug… well, I’ll just happily refer you back to your very own, colorful “idiot” example. I am not a prohibitionist, and I respect your Abraham Lincoln citing very much.

    I have been a caregiver for over a decade to people who have truly suffered medically and relationally from the negative artifacts of marijuana and other drugs. I am a father with two wonderful, young daughters who have clear, positive visions of their futures. The things that could get in the way of their life-visions could come from eating too many ‘peanut butter crackers’. Or it could come from the poor choices of legislators who are not thorough in their research before supporting the profiteers of “medical marijuana”. Or it could come from the modeling of people and parents who parent while using marijuana, tobacco, alcohol and other “recreational” drugs. For me… and mine? I choose to put myself in the way for the safety and well being of my loved ones. Currently in Shasta County, there are more pot shops than pharmacies. From my arguable experience, a pharmacy, typically relies on the highly educated, degreed and accredited 'pharmacist' to dispense hundreds of different medications. The pot shops provide only one drug that is dispensed by… who? I’m not trying to be flip here. I just don’t know the professional and academic rigors those providers rest upon.

    If you like, Daryls and Bennets out there – and with Doni, Kelly, Steve and Bruce’s permission – I will be happy to provide a nationally aired, videotaped interview of a man, Mark Blanchet (36), who never used tobacco and only used marijuana, yet developed cancer and suffered radical muscle, bone and tissue removal from his tongue, jaw and neck. He was a participant in a scientific study conducted by U.C. Davis researcher, Dr. Paul Donald. His own words are compelling and the footage is very graphic, disturbing and extremely tragic.. and quite possibly: PREVENTABLE. Yet, Mark’s story also supports why I am compelled to speak out on this issue.

    Please enjoy just a few of these references and citings that support my position and practice:



    Citings related to mortality/comorbidity:

    Dr. Paul Donald, M.D., FRCS (c)

    From: The California NORML/MAPS Smoking Device Study
    “The most compelling evidence of marijuana's potential carcinogencity come from recent clinical reports of throat and neck cancer in young marijuana-using males. This was first discovered by oncologist Dr. Paul Donald at the University of California at Davis, who in examining six patients who had contracted throat and neck cancer at the unusually early age of under 40, found that every one had a history of marijuana use[11] Although most of the patients also had other risk factors such as tobacco smoking or heavy drinking, marijuana use was the only one common to them all. Subsequent investigations by Dr. Donald and other oncologists have continued to find suspiciously high rates of marijuana use among younger throat, neck and tongue cancer patients, suggesting the possibility of a significant upsurge in upper respiratory tract cancers in coming years as the sixties generation ages[12]

    The link between marijuana and throat cancer seems especially compelling in light of Dr. Donald Tashkin's work, which indicates that cannabis smoke tends to concentrate in the larger, upper passages of the respiratory tract[13] In contrast, cigarette smoke is more likely to penetrate to the smaller, lower air passageways, where most tobacco-related lung cancers originate. It is still unclear whether pot plays a significant role in cancer of the lower lungs. However, Dr. Tashkin warns that the total tissue area in the upper respiratory passages is much smaller than that in the lower passages, so that pot smokers may well be exposing their throats to a proportionately much greater concentration of carcinogens. It is therefore possible that pot is a greater risk to the throat than cigarettes to the lungs. On the other hand, pot appears to be a much lesser factor in emphysema, which originates in the lower lungs.”

    [11] Paul Donald, "Marijuana smoking- Possible cause of head and neck carcinoma in young patients," Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery; v.94: 517-21 (April 1986).
    [12] Frank M Taylor, "Marijuana as a potential respiratory tract carcinogen: A retrospective analysis of a community hospital population," Southern Medical Journal 81:1231-6 (1988); Gideon Caplan and Brian Brigham, "Marijuana smoking and carcinoma of the tongue: Is there an association?" Cancer 66:1005-6 (1990); PJ Donald, "Advanced malignancy in the young marijuana smoker," Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 288: 33-56 (1991).
    [13] Donald Tashkin et al, "Effects of Habitual Use of Marijuana and/or Cocaine on the Lung," loc. cit.
    T-C Wu, D. P. Tashkin, B. Djahed and J.E. Rose, "Pulmonary hazards of smoking marijuana as compared with tobacco," New England Journal of Medicine 318: 347-51 (1988).

    Hal thank you for this thread… I am done submitting and won't bother these readers any longer.

  28. Avatar Pat j. says:

    Alan, It's too bad but you make too much sense for some "people". Obviously, they have no respect for the Sheriff's Dept. or the RPD. I could ALMOST feel sorry for them.

  29. Avatar Drummerman365 says:

    The only problem seen here is one of supply and demand! You can't have 1,000 medical Marijuana growers and only 20 or 30 dispensaries!
    Wake up Mr. Bosenko! The need far out weighs the supply! Why do you think that is?
    More than likely all the drugs that the medical profession throws at "we the people", most of which are not tested in depth and have horrendous side effects!
    Marijuana has been on this earth for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years! How long has Prozac been on this earth? I find this totally appalling that once again here it is those whom claim power in the hierarchy of this systems structure trying to save us from ourselves. We will not stop our fight and we will wear you down until you throw in the towel or just decide to tax it and get it over with "we the people" are tired of the big brother political agendas the only thing you should be really concentrating on is how the hell to get METH out of our communities!
    You people sympathize with the meth heads because they have a problem….oh darn! no one twisted their arms I am sure! Yet you treat medicinal Marijuana as if it were something so vile and distasteful that people whom are trying to help their fellow cancer, anxiety, chronic joint pain…etc man or woman like a common criminal! UNREAL!!!! What year is it again??? Because I thought it was 2010!!!!!!!! Peace brothers and sisters never stop keep strong and we still have the VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Much Love to all….;o)

  30. Avatar michael zito says:

    If marajuna is a benificial MEDICINE, it should be delivered by a pharmacist, just like methodone, vicodin, viagra, whatever….Who the hell are these dispensaries? Do they have any education or qualifications as a pharmacist? I smell skunk. May'be we have enough lawmakers in office now that are stoners,growers or both to keep passing these sad laws. If you don't grow, and you live in Humbolt county, you are the minority. Now about meth….you cook it, HANG YA, you use it, you've created your own hell, lock you up and you can deal with bubba and his cellmate bruno. That's what I call justice. I remember a song….Love hurts……..

  31. Avatar Drummerman365 says:

    What was your point again????????? Because you really lost me their!!!
    Factually you are frail!
    Marijuana is not a processed drug it is a plant! To be exact an Herb! As well, no one is disputing the meth thing here,,,,,,,, i am agreeable with your statement.
    I just find it real hard to swallow all the BULLSHIT bureaucracy over who, when, why, and how this should all go down.
    It is very simple and as well it will keep the criminal element out of the legal sector of the EDUCATED!!!! dispensaries. The plan is simple and the revenue that Shasta as well as other counties would generate would help lift this economically depressed area out of the hole!!!! 100 local dispensaries would generate at least per quarter over $265,000!
    So before you start condemning Medical/Medicinal PLANTS!!!! look at where the local economy and the jobs it also would create. Unless you yourself are enjoying the life of leisure?????? Most of us don't Peace out rabbit……………..LOL

  32. Avatar Gordon says:

    (Deaths from Marijuana v. 17 FDA-Approved Drugs: 1997-2005)

    Vioxx 4707
    Viagra 2294
    Wellbutrin: 1352
    Ritalin: 174
    Marijuana: 109
    Adderall: 66
    Marinol: 5


    Yes, Marijuana is a drug. Yes it causes harm to a few people every month. However, it is much less dangerous than aspirin, tobacco and alcohol. It is less addictive than caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol. It causes less brain damage than alcohol, less physcial harm than tobacco. Its as powerful a gateway drug as listening to heavy metal. For all the harm it does, it also does a ton of good. It is a self-titrating drug, which means the more you smoke the less effect it has. It is physically impossible to die from smoking or eating too much marijuana. This is unheard of with prescription drugs. That is why marijuana is one of the safest known drugs, safer than aspirin. Now, whether or not it should be legal, with people growing outdoors in suburban communities, is a great subject for discussion. I think each county should be able to choose their own standards for cultivation and dispensaries. But lets leave the anti-marijuana(which Pfizer,Merck,ect. cannot patent and profit from) propaganda for the last century. We all know that Meth, Crack Cocaine,Heroin, Oxycontin(Legal Heroin), Alcohol, and other prescription drugs are a much bigger danger to our children and our society. But no one is screaming about getting meth and oxy's out of our town, they prefer to rip on harmless stoners because admitting that a smokable drug is less harmful than the alcohol they drink regularly would reveal their hypocritical self-righteous ego trip about keeping our children safe. Now for a rebuttal to dumbass Bosenko.

    Also, we have information indicating that organized crime is involved in the distribution of medical marijuana.

    Most disensaries are not run by gangbangers or cartels out of Mexico, go to Green Heart and see how normal friendly people can sell marjiuana to other normal respectable friendly people without Anderson turning into an anarchic drugfest hellhole.

    It’s unlikely that their proliferation would take money away from organized crime. Look at alcohol and cigarettes: Both are legal and taxed, and yet organized crime continues to make money off of them by transporting them across state lines to sell in the black market.

    Yeah, I remember how I used to buy cigs and beer off of my buddy Hal Capone every day after grade-school. He'd drive it from Missisippi and sell it all over Norcal. Of course it was more expensive than getting a bum to buy it at Safeway, but you know how the black market works. There was such a high demand for smuggled camels and bud-light, we'd pay anything. Dumbass. Remember how organized crime exploded with prohibition of alcohol. I'm sure Bosenko would say, liqour stores wouldn't take money from organized crime, they'll still find a way to smuggle it in, even when its legal (-:

    I believe that if people will look in depth at the sound medical and scientific research concerning the short and long-term effects of marijuana, they’ll be less inclined to look at it as a benign drug — or as a medicine.

    Cancer, Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Glaucoma, Neuropathic pain, Chronic pain
    Let's replace "effects of marijuana" with "effects of flouridated water" or thimerosol, or chemotherapy, or oxycontin. The AMA now admits marijuana has medicinal benefits, all these other dangerous drugs are legal, why not marijuana. We should all have the right to choose what we take, especially if it is a proven safe drug.

    I have zero tolerance for illegal drugs, and the Sheriff’s office will continue efforts against criminal activities.

    harrassment of non-violent citizens for possesion of a safe drug is criminal, I'd like to see Bosenko get arrested for playing poker with some friends. It's all illegal and criminal until Bosenko's wife wants to get high to ease her pain from a terminal illness, then the propaganda bullshit goes down the drain and Bosenko helps his wife any way he can and suddenly realizes he just turned into one of the criminals he has been screwing over his entire career. Bosenko doesn't care about protecting and serving as much as he cares about keeping the status quo and pleasing the powerful financial and political interests in Redding. If he was really trying to protect our kids he'd be talking about the meth, oxycontin, epidemic that IS taking lives every year

  33. Avatar Marijuana Legalizati says:

    Do you think marijuana should be legalized?

  1. November 16, 2009

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