While Sacramento City Council member Jay Schenirer went over the state of cannabis in Sacramento at the most recent City Council meeting in the state’s capital, November 22, a little discussed incentive crept into conversation.
The city, concerned with ensuring illegal operators are weeded out, wants to incentivize people to snitch.
“Reward for reporting illegal grows,” Member Schenirer says. “I think it’s a great idea. I’m happy to incorporate it.”
He says to Member Allen Warren, who seemingly suggested the snitch fee: “You had $1,000 reward.”
Member Warren interjects to clarify. “We do this for illegal dumping, where you can anonymously report illegal dumping. I believe it’s important for us to have people to be able to identify illegal grows and anonymously be able to report and receive incentive for doing that. I think it helps to take some of the burden off our code enforcement and public safety officers.”
Mr. Warren’s big concern is stamping out illegal grows, and he even threatened bringing his own motion forward if the one now up for debate i Sacramento doesn’t take this issue as seriously as he does.
“We have to bring this industry into the light,” the Sacramento City Council member says. “And we have to incentivize people to help us and we have to have a fine that is significant enough so that its a deterrent.”
He adds: “if my friendly amendments, or maybe not so friendly amendments, are not going to be accepted than I would be forced to make a substitute motion which will speak to the issues I am passionate about.”
Member Schenirer mentions that, currently in the city of Sacramento, there are some odd 400 illegal grows and that code enforcement officers and public safety officers lack the resources to shut these illegal entities down.
“How we get resources to do that is part of what we’re talking about,” he says.
Member Warren is quick to call all grows in the City illegal since no local regulatory framework has passed.
A retired California law enforcement officer with whom THCist spoke compares the suggestion to statewide Crime Stoppers programs, whereby a crime is anonymously reported, and if an arrest is made and a guilty conviction procured in trial, then the reward is dispersed. The cannabis industry is concerned that this could provoke violence in urban cities as criminals turn on each other.
Many cannabis proponents, however, see the precedent as a dangerous one. “We can not allow something like this to catch on around the state,” says Jacqueline McGowan. “Otherwise we will be living in war zones from people retaliating against snitches.”