The regulatory environment for cannabis in San Diego County could see dramatic change if candidate Dave Myers is elected sheriff in 2018. Myers, who is currently a commander in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, will be running against incumbent Bill Gore, a staunch opponent of legalized cannabis.
Running on a platform of diversity, inclusivity and transparency, Myers is actively seeking support from the many different communities that make up California’s second-most populous county. That includes the cannabis community. Myers has appeared at functions hosted by cannabis industry groups and medical marijuana advocates.
“For too many years, law enforcement has marginalized and alienated the cannabis community,” Myers told High Times.
Myers notes that the San Diego County Board of Supervisors had implemented regulations that allowed medical marijuana dispensaries to operate. But in March of this year, at Sheriff Gore’s urging, the Board flip-flopped and banned all cannabis operations. The dispensaries that were previously approved have been given five years to recoup investments, but will then be forced to close.
But Myers believes that banning cannabis merely “shoves it underground” and ends up creating more problems for law enforcement and the community.
Noting that more than 60 percent of the voters in San Diego voted for Prop. 64 legalizing marijuana for adult use, Myers believes it’s time for a change.
“We’ve been wasting millions of dollars chasing outdated cannabis laws,” he said. Let’s sit down together and craft regulation that will make it work.”
In addition to allowing the dispensaries to continue to operate, Myers believes that cultivation should be allowed in the county’s agricultural areas. And “until the federal government gets off its ass and creates banking regulations” for the cannabis industry, he supports proactive solutions for companies forced to deal with large quantities of cash.
When asked if he thought he could successfully convince county leaders to change cannabis policy if he is elected, Myers was optimistic.
“If the sheriff can convince the Board of Supervisors to ban it, then the sheriff can convince the Board of Supervisors to regulate it,” he said.
Cannabis, of course, isn’t the only issue Dave Myers is running on.
He believes the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, where he has worked for 32 years, does not reflect the people it serves. Women, Asians and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Latinos and the LGBTQ community are all under-represented, both as peace officers and in the department’s administrative and support staff. If he is successful, Myers will be the first openly gay male elected sheriff in the United States.
He gauges his chances of success at the ballot box as “very good.”
As the first candidate for San Diego County Sheriff from the Democratic Party in more than 60 years, he’s counting on support from the local party, which has designated his race as “strategically critical,” according to Myers. He also hopes to benefit from high Democratic voter turnout expected in response to the Trump administration and its policies.
California’s primary elections are scheduled for June 5, 2018. The two candidates for sheriff with the most votes will then compete in the general election to be held November 6, 2018.