Law enforcement departments across the U.S. will soon have access to a new online video course teaching them everything they need to know about how to properly regulate cannabis in this new era of legalization.
To design the course, Green Flower – the world’s leading cannabis education platform – has partnered with Police Chief Andrew Salinas, who helped successfully spearhead and integrate cannabis policy in his own community of Port Hueneme and across his department.
“As legalization sweeps the country, it means that cannabis and hemp laws are changing, and that is actually creating a lot of brand new challenges for law enforcement,” says Green Flower co-founder and CEO Max Simon.
“The changes include understanding people's rights, the new regulatory framework, how to properly deal with possession and impairment, and so many other critical issues. This course is necessary for helping law enforcement understand this new landscape, so they can both be more effective in their role while also being more understanding to cannabis consumers and professionals.”
Green Flower approached Chief Salinas after hearing about the revolutionary work he’d done integrating cannabis policy for Port Hueneme, California.
“A police chief successfully leading cannabis policy! Wow. And because he was so focused on education and being a good steward of sound cannabis governance, he was immediately excited about the idea of creating education and training programs with Green Flower. It was a fit right from the beginning,” Simon explains.
As Simon points out, law enforcement faces a lot of challenges around cannabis legalization issues, including topics such as understanding state versus local cannabis laws, how to deal with issues like possession, driving, impairment and consumption, the rights of cannabis professionals in regards to delivery drivers and dispensary workers, how to deal with cannabis complaints, proper protocols when criminal intent is suspected, and much more.
Filling a Gap in Police Training
For Chief Salinas, this law enforcement training is not about converting police into cannabis supporters but rather preparing officers for the new cannabis laws, which is exactly what he did for his department. “We are not pro-cannabis; we are pro-enforcement and pro-regulation,” Salinas says of his police force.
The idea is that there’s a gap in police training as it relates to cannabis, Salinas continues. Law enforcement needs to be updated about what are the rules and regulations, and how do we enforce them.
“Many communities, such as mine, add additional requirements or conditions above and beyond state law. A lot of these conditions come from the police department, and we want the correct information being disseminated to our officers and to the public,” Salinas adds.
“There are so many myths and preconceived notions about cannabis that we feel can be answered through this new training; it will allow officers to have a better understanding of local and state law, and what’s needed for proper and sound enforcement.”
A Community Surprised by Legal Cannabis Benefits
Now police chief for a small coastal town of 22,500 people in California, Salinas worked with members of the community to destigmatize and educate, ultimately lifting the town’s ban on cannabis sales.
“Before we approved cannabis, the naysayers insisted that property values in our community would plummet and crime would be rampant,” Chief Salinas reveals.
“Not only is crime down in our city, including a violent crime reduction of 25%, it was also reported this past week that property values have increased more in our city than any other city in the county – and it’s not even close.”
The eight legal dispensaries, Salinas continues, have flushed out all the illegal cannabis activity in the community, and officers are reporting a lot of beneficial outcomes since the community began to allow legal cannabis sales.
“The officers quickly saw the positive effects and impact of having a highly regulated cannabis business in our city. This included the increased security in the area, which has decreased crime such as loitering, soliciting and theft, as well as these businesses reinvesting in their location as they have a brand to sell. Some of these locations have refurbished parking lots, new paint, and security camera systems that would challenge security at the Pentagon.”
One of the biggest outcomes for the community is that the legal dispensaries are bringing in about $1.8 million that goes directly to the city. In addition to paying a local tax on 5 percent of all legal cannabis sales, dispensaries are also required to reinvest 1 percent of gross sales to community-based organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Police Explorer Program.
Money from cannabis sales has also gone to revitalizing different parts of the city including community centers, beaches and parks, and even upgrades for police equipment.
Salinas explains that one other reason the community has been so positive is transparency in how cannabis is affecting the city. “Whether it be crime, traffic, noise, smell, schools, economic impact, and contributions to our community. I have completed six educational forums for our community or adjacent communities and they have all been sold out. Why? Because people want to hear the right information from a credible source who has the facts.”
This New Law Enforcement Cannabis Training Will Be Available in Q2 2020
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Green Flower is excited to continue to develop trusted cannabis education that serves communities and professionals in key sectors like Law Enforcement, Higher Education, and more.