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Other Voices: Article about pot trial poorly portrayed law enforcement

When publicly scrutinizing the integrity of an organization and the members that make up that organization, perhaps it would behoove the journalists who report the news to present facts rather than spinning the truth to meet a particular publication’s apparent collective political agenda.

“A digital scale, a gun and a large amount of cash inside two alleged ‘pay-owe’ envelopes that are now missing are the basis of Nevada County’s case …” These statements pertaining to the trial of Mr. Engstrom, in which he was charged with possessing marijuana for sale and unlawfully growing marijuana, are not merely emphatically inaccurate – they suggest egregious inadequacies by narcotics officers.

The statements ultimately serve to perpetuate a negative and politically biased view toward law enforcement, subsequently impeding on their combined efforts to protect the citizens of Nevada County.



The Nevada County Narcotics Division is made up of law enforcement personnel committed to bettering our community. They, along with the District Attorney’s Office, have made great strides in combating drug cultivation, sales, and comprehensive distribution of a myriad of illegal substances that might have otherwise originated in our county.

Nonetheless, it seems certain factions of the very citizens whom these officers, deputies, and investigators are trying to protect, are determined to thwart their efforts.




Beyond the inaccurate statements aimed at law enforcement, the Engstrom case is a prime example of the ambiguity the legalization of medicinal marijuana has caused. When Nevada County Narcotics Task Force discovers the cultivation of 80 marijuana plants and an additional two and a half pounds of buds, and it requires the time and expense of a jury trial to determine the legitimacy of the growth, it reminds us of the relentless undermining of their efforts.

Granted, we are all entitled to our day in court, but at whose expense? Mr. Engstrom chose to push the boundaries of the law by growing in excess of 80 plants – well beyond legal allowances. It’s not up to me to judge his intentions, or rather, his motivation for doing so. However, the cost of the investigation, arrest, and subsequent trial does fall on my shoulders – as well as yours.

The constant public dialect between those who oppose versus those who support the legalization of marijuana is evidence that there exists no immediate light at the end of the tunnel; so, the rhetoric continues on.

The fact is: Marijuana, beyond limited medicinal purposes, is illegal. As with any law – whether we like it or not – it’s our responsibility to adhere to it. Similarly, it is the duty of those individuals and organizations responsible for disseminating the information surrounding drug-related legal cases to propagate the information accurately in an attempt to avoid unnecessary and potentially dangerous biases directed toward law enforcement and those who work diligently to keep out community safe.

Lori Nunnink-Deniz lives in Grass Valley.


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