Sheriff asks for more manpower in case Board opts in to medical marijuana

Published 8:00 am Sunday, April 24, 2022

In preparation for if the Pearl River County  Board of Supervisors opts in to the state’s medical marijuana production and distribution program, Sheriff David Allison presented the Board with some requests.

First he asked for an extra $834,125 in funding to hire additional deputies and investigators and purchase the gear they will need. He said he would like to hire two more narcotics investigators, two more investigators in the criminal investigation division and four more deputies to patrol the streets.

He said that amount will only be for the first year, subsequent years that additional funding will total $714,125. The additional $120,000 for the first year will be needed to purchase the additional vehicles and equipment to outfit each new investigator or deputy.

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Rob Williams with the Sheriff’s Department then went on to present a list of suggested policies for any ordinance the Board may pass if it decides to opt in to the program.

Some of the suggestions focused on the time of day a grow facility and dispensary can operate and when processed marijuana will be transported to a dispensary. For instance, Williams suggested the Board restrict the times processed marijuana can be transported  to a dispensary between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

He also suggested banning the use of marijuana on the premises of a grow facility or dispensary, prohibit the use of medical marijuana in public, prohibit the possession of the substance at schools and county buildings, prohibit the sharing of medical marijuana with others even if the other party has a state issued card, create a searchable computer database to track all sales, locking metal doors on facilities that grow or dispense the substance and install security glass between staff at dispensaries and the patient.

For the manufacturing sites, he would like to see 12 inch chain link fencing with razor wire, sufficient outside lighting, a 24/7 security presence and that law enforcement have the authority and access to inspect any facility at any time of day or night.

As for surveillance equipment, Williams asked that the system must be rated at a resolution of at least 4K, record full video at all times and that it cover all angles and directions coming to and leaving the facility.  That system should also have the capacity to store at least two months worth of footage.

An alarm system that is monitored by a professional agency that includes an audible onsite component is another requirement. Williams also suggested the hours in which a dispensary can operate be between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

When the dispensary closes, Williams said it would be a good idea for the staff to employ security procedures similar to pawn shops, where valuable items such as the medical marijuana is locked in a safe.

The Board did not take any action on those suggestions during Wednesday’s meeting.