Tim Tietjen is a sergeant at the Fresno, California police department, where he serves on the narcotics enforcement team. As such, Tietjen is an expert in drugs and their effects on the human body — or at least, he is supposed to be. And if not, he can soon become one by attending training, paid for with taxpayer money, that is designed to grant him this expertise.
And as such, Tietjen is surely privy to research that states, clearly and unequivocally, that cannabis has led to exactly zero deaths by overdose in recorded human history. Tietjen would know this if he has spent any time around cannabis, or other police officers. He would also know this if he read the Drug Enforcement Administration’s fact sheet on marijuana, which takes note of this well-known fact.
Let us assume, for Tietjen’s sake, that he does not know this. Let us hope that, somehow, a narcotics enforcement sergeant is ignorant of narcotics. Because, if this were not the case, Tietjen would be lying when he told a news conference that edible marijuana products, the centerpiece of a baffling news conference called last week, “could cause death.”
Fresno is in California, but for those readers unfamiliar with the vast state and its many multitudes, know this: Fresno is in the “flyover country” part of California — the hot, flat, mostly agricultural, mostly conservative Central Valley. It is here that cannabis legalization and the marijuana industry are interesting ideas and not a multi-billion-dollar reality. Retail marijuana stores are illegal, the subject of a strict local ban.
Thus, it would seem that Fresno police don’t need much of a reason or an introduction to shut down retail sales outlets. Yet Fresno cops nevertheless spent two months “investigating” the Collective Element marijuana dispensary in the city — and justified a raid that netted six arrests and “150 pounds of candy” seized on the grounds that the cannabis candy could kill somebody.
You can see the products in question in the above news clip from the local television affiliate. You will see cookies and candies, bath bombs and hair ointment. You will see some products that claim to have 200 milligrams of CBD, or cannabidiol, or the less-psychoactive cannabis compound. You will also see Tietjen make the bold claim that his actions saved children’s lives.
“Think about what could happen here,” says Tietjen, whose job it is to be an expert on drugs, like marijuana, which has — remember — killed exactly zero people on the planet of earth, where Tietjen lives and works, as a narcotics expert. “These gummy worms get into a home, some little girl or boy partakes of that, it could cause death.”
This statement would be outrageous — and it is, being flatly untrue — if it weren’t echoed by Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer, who also justified having his officers camp outside of a brick-and-mortar store for two months by invoking dead kids.
“Hopefully we’ll ultimately prevent some child in our community from being seriously injured or killed as a result of coming into contact with some of the items,” Dyer said, according to the Fresno Bee. Cops in Fresno received numerous complaints from citizens about over-the-counter marijuana sales in Fresno, where as many as 80 dispensaries operate in violation of local law.
Cops can’t raid them all, Dyer told the news cameras, but “will shut down a dispensary if there’s a danger to the public,” he told the newspaper. And, if there’s not a danger, Dyer, Tietjen and the rest of the Fresno police department appear willing to manufacture one.
The six people arrested, allegedly employees of the dispensary, are charged with misdemeanors and face maximum penalties of six months in jail and fines of $500, the harshest punishment available for someone selling cannabis without a state license under California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
TELL US, have you ever interacted with anyone who was misguided about the dangers of marijuana?