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San Francisco’s Former Sheriff Joins Marijuana Rush

Chris Roberts

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Police aren’t dutiful robots, blindly performing the bidding of a corrupt state. As the recent Pew Research Survey of 8,000 cops around the country showed, they also think some laws are stupid.

Cops are predictably more conservative than the general public, but it may still may surprise law-enforcement critics that more than two-thirds of police think marijuana laws need be relaxed—and that only 30 percent of cops believe marijuana should be illegal across the board.

That’s not necessarily reflected in arrest or incarceration stats, depending on the city. In infamously tolerant (at least when it comes to smoking weed) San Francisco, you won’t find anyone in jail solely for smoking marijuana. Now that the state passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, you also won’t find anyone in jail just for growing it or selling it, either.

But even before then, the city had a prominent pro-legalization lawman.

Ross Mirkarimi served on the city’s Board of Supervisors for eight years. He authored San Francisco’s landmark 2005 law licensing medical marijuana dispensaries, one of the first cities in California—and by extension, the world—to give official consent to pot sales. He won a “Hero of the Year” award from NORML for it, and he didn’t stop there, once suggesting the city should enter the marijuana game itself.

It didn’t win him many friends in patrol cars, but voters thought enough of him for Mirkarimi to serve as the city’s elected sheriff from 2012 to January 2016.

He maintained his marijuana-friendly stance after trading a suit for a uniform and gun, becoming—by his own estimation—the only pro-legalization sheriff in California, as he reminded SFist. That foresight is now paying off, as Mirkarimi is now working in the marijuana industry as a consultant, he told the news site.

According to SFist, the ex-sheriff is working as a consultant, with a client roster that includes one of the city’s oldest medical-marijuana dispensaries.

“Years later,” he said, “my policy work has become a basis for my work today.”

Which is not saying, “I helped create an industry and created some jobs, including my own,” outright, but close enough.

Owing either to legal marijuana’s righteousness or the righteous economic opportunity the marijuana marketplace afford, ex-cops pepper the cannabis industry at all levels. Former law-enforcement officers now in the marijuana business include former DEA agents like Patrick Moen, the managing director of weed equity firm Privateer Holdings.

It is all well and good that the police who believed the war on marijuana was a sham all along can take a place in the marijuana industry. In return, this modest proposal: Offer some marijuana users, including ex-offenders, a shot at a badge and a gun themselves. Fair is fair.

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.

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