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Upland Police Chief Brian Johnson and his wife were videotaped removing Yes On Measure U signs [Chief Brian Johnson / Twitter]
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Upland Police Chief Brian Johnson and his wife were videotaped removing Yes On Measure U signs
[Chief Brian Johnson / Twitter]

Upland, California has a ban in place on medical marijuana dispensaries. But a group in the town is backing a petition which got more than 7,000 signatures in 90 days for Measure U, which would allow a few dispensaries in Upland. The only problem is, the city’s police chief was allegedly captured on video removing campaign signs supporting Measure U, all over the city — and being assisted by his wife.

The advocates, members of Regulate Upland, a pro-dispensary group, say that the same day they put up their campaign signs last month, they were taken down by Police Chief Brian Johnson (not the AC/DC vocalist, mind you) and his wife.

“We look at the move, the maneuver, as his way of trying to help fight against it,” said Measure U advocate Stephen Dunn of the chief’s indefensible actions, reports Kacey Montoya at KTLA. The initiative, which qualified for November’s ballot, would allow up to three medical cannabis dispensaries to operate legally in the city.

The incident happened the first week political signs were allowed to be posted, according to Dunn, the weekend of September 24. He said Upland Mayor Ray Musser admitted in a council meeting last week that 12 to 14 of the signs were removed; the Mayor claimed the reason was that they were on city property.

But Dunn said all the signs removed were definitely not on the public right of way. He said city officials actually removed more than 80 signs.

The video shows a woman get out of a dark sedan with a California exempt license plate and remove a “Yes On Measure U” sign, then get back in the car. Volunteers said the driver was Chief Johnson.

“It’s a code enforcement infraction, and it’s odd for the chief himself to actually be out removing signs,” said Dunn, who used to be finance director and city manager of Upland. He said he knows they spent millions of dollars fighting to keep medical marijuana dispensaries out of town.

“There’s a certain belief by certain city leaders that they can eradicate marijuana from this community, and we’re simply saying no you can’t,” Dunn said. “So we’re advocating a tax-and-regulate approach: allow three dispensaries, tax them, use that money for enforcement and education.”

A formal complaint was filed against Chief Johnson, so city officials claim they can’t comment on the case. The city claims it is putting a “rush” on the investigation, and that they “hope” to have it wrapped up next week, since the campaign season is so short.

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