Rural California sheriff, auditor spar on pot money spending

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California county auditor is accusing a sheriff of improperly spending some of the $1 million his department received in fees from legal pot growers to go after illegal operators.

It's the latest skirmish over pot in a rural county confronting a massive influx of marijuana growers in the run up to Jan. 1 when recreational cannabis sales becomes legal in California.

Calaveras County sheriff Rick DiBasilio denies the auditor's charge that he can only use the money for background checks and other permit-related activity. He says busting illegal pot operations is necessary to regulate marijuana in the county. The sheriff says he is working with county officials on resolving the issue and declined further comment.

The county last year allowed medical marijuana to be grown legally.