MMJ Dispensaries Not Linked To Neighborhood Crime

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††MMJ Dispensaries Not Linked To Neighborhood Crime

Posted by CN Staff on June 06, 2012 at 04:37:18 PT
By Jason Koebler†
Source: U.S. News & World Report†

USA -- It's long been the argument of law enforcement and anti-medical marijuana advocates that the government-sanctioned pot dispensaries cause an uptick in crime, especially burglary and muggings. The only problem is that argument isn't necessarily true, according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health.On its face, the argument makes senseómedical marijuana dispensaries feature large caches of high quality drugs, and its customers overwhelmingly walk in with a huge wad of cash and walk out with a desirable product. But the study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found that neighborhoods with medical marijuana dispensaries in Sacramento were no more likely to have crime than other neighborhoods.
The study's authors say their research may debunk a 2009 report by the California Police Chiefs Association that said marijuana dispensaries "have been tied to organized criminal gangs, foster large [marijuana growth] operations, and are often multi-million-dollar profit centers." "Because they are repositories of valuable marijuana crops and large amounts of cash, several operators of dispensaries have been attacked and murdered by armed robbers both at their storefronts and homes, and such places have been regularly burglarized," the report continues. "Drug dealing, sales to minors, loitering, heavy vehicle and foot traffic in retail areas, increased noise, and robberies of customers just outside dispensaries are also common ancillary by-products of their operations." Arguments such as those are common by opponents of medical marijuana legalization, which will soon be available in as many as 17 states and the District of Columbia. "There's law enforcement and city officials debating whether these dispensaries were attracting undesirables, and there's the other side, the dispensary owners, saying maybe these concerns were unfounded," says co-author Nancy Kepple, a doctoral student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. "But neither side had any evidence that supported either claim." The UCLA study looked at crime rates in 95 areas of Sacramento in 2009, before the city enacted regulations on where dispensaries could be located and had fewer restrictions on what security measures dispensary operators had to meet. "Whatever security measures were done, the owners chose to do it for themselves [in 2009]. We specifically selected this time because it was based on a free-market situation," says Kepple. Although the researchers aren't sure why there was no uptick in crime around dispensaries, they suspect that security guards and cameras have an impact on keeping criminals out. Or, as Kepple wrote in the report, it could be that marijuana dispensaries just don't increase crime any "more than any other facility in a commercially-zoned area." Several high-profile murders in San Francisco and Hollywood dispensaries and burglaries in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Colorado Springs have made dispensary-based crime national news, but those cases aren't representative of a larger trend, Kepple and her co-author, Bridget Freisthler, say. "Because of the type of business dispensaries are, any crime there has been well-publicized, bringing more attention to the issue," Freisthler says. "Neighborhood residents get up in arms and it takes a life of its own." She says pot dispensaries appear to be no more likely to be victimized by burglars than liquor stores or other commercial spots. Still, the authors realize there are potential holes in their study. They say they need to study crime rates in other cities and need to study crime trends over time to determine whether dispensaries have long-term impacts on neighborhood crime."This is really just the start, and [our findings] seem contrary to what the public debate has been saying," Kepple says. "We wanted to start thinking about the debate from a scientific standpoint." Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. Source: U.S. News & World Report (US)Author: Jason KoeblerPublished: June 6, 2012Copyright: 2012 U.S. News & World ReportWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 

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Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 06, 2012 at 19:04:43 PT

I'm sorry to read you are having health problems. 
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on June 06, 2012 at 18:05:50 PT

wrong prescription
>>>When I started on Temodar, the hospital pharmacy rang it up on the cash register without entering my insurance info by mistake. They asked me for $4000 with a straight face!Has anyone actually priced out Sativex? Wasn't it something like $10K per year?Runruff I think you're onto something - the modern day drug war is just another element of the colonial mentality that Bob Marley railed against. 

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Comment #5 posted by runruff on June 06, 2012 at 14:26:45 PT

R&D Cost???!!!
Oooh! Can ya hear me calling? That always makes me so mad!The first modern pharmaceuticals were developed by a DuPont who studied chemistry in America and Smokeless gunpowder manufacturing in France. I think his name was Irene DuPont, I think? The DuPonts had this deal about making money on everything even the swag left over in their gunpowder making. Irene mixed chemicals and tried them out on various beings always noting their reaction to each chemical. Then he began the practice of getting his medication prescribed by doctors who were friends of the family. This is really how the modern Pharm industry got started.But what this tirade is leading to is the amount of money allocated to these pill pushers for R&D from congress, of our tax money. So we pay for R&D. We send in our armies and clear out the indigenous people so that DuPonts and The Rockefellers can come in and rob them of their resources, minerals and vegetation of various kinds. They turn around and sell all this chemical guessing game back to us for $4,000 a pop. It is galling enough to think they would try to extort this large sum of money from our friend Oleg, here, but how galling is that they can then turn to an insurance company and make them pay it? The insurance company in turn charges their clients higher and higher premiums. It is like a merry-go-round of "gotchas"!
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on June 06, 2012 at 13:24:17 PT

I think you and I are on the same page. Maybe I could have made it more clear that I was talking about the DEA and as Oleg put it, the alphabet soup agencies owned by the fed.They are the ones committing the crimes.I find in today's political climate it is possible to break the law and not commit a crime. Adversely, the government is committing crimes by enforcing some of their laws.Much good on you my friend.
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Comment #3 posted by Oleg the Tumor on June 06, 2012 at 09:40:20 PT:

What Argument About the Plant Ever Made Sense?
"On its face, the argument makes senseómedical marijuana dispensaries feature large caches of high quality drugs, and its customers overwhelmingly walk in with a huge wad of cash and walk out with a desirable product."The idea of "high-quality drugs" being synonymous with "huge wads of cash" is a direct function of cannabis prohibition. Without the prohibition, you wouldn't need a huge wad of cash. An ounce of cannabis can be had for pennies if you just let the sun do its job.
 On the other hand, "high-quality drugs" (i.e. for cancer treatment) are expensive and often beyond the patient's ability to afford. 
When I started on Temodar, the hospital pharmacy rang it up on the cash register without entering my insurance info by mistake. 
They asked me for $4000 with a straight face! "Is that for a pound or a Kilo?" I said.The idea of a "high-quality drug" is something of a misnomer. In the hands of a reputable doctor, a drug is a tool. It's either right for the purpose or it isn't. 
A $50 chrome-plated wrench isn't much help if all you need is a two dollar screwdriver.
So why do some drugs cost a lot more than others? The pharmaceutical companies insist that billions must be spent to create the first pill, thereby justifying their costs. 
But these "costs" include administration costs, a sales force (the real drug pushers) and "honoraria" paid to doctors to sell other doctors on the idea of using a certain drug to treat conditions other than the one the drug was originally developed for. These costs do not include the treatment for addiction to prescription pharmaceuticals, the real drug problem in this country. The "deal" offered by Big Pharma is hard to refuse, as doctors typically start their careers with huge educational debts.So now we have three different drugs for erectile dysfunction.
As Darth Vader might say, "Very Impressive!"As runruff says, the real criminals are in the alphabet soup gangs raiding dispensaries.
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Comment #2 posted by Lucas on June 06, 2012 at 08:32:59 PT

read the article
> There is plenty of crime in mmj vendor neighborhoods! you got it wrong, you provide no proof, and the article you are replying to specifically shows your unfounded assumption that "there is plenty of crime" is not supported by facts.
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on June 06, 2012 at 06:27:06 PT

I beg to differ!
Neighborhood mmj stores are often hit by groups of violent para-military gangs, heavily armed and deadly.They make daring daylight raids, where they load up their vehicles with money and cash and drive away unmolested.There is plenty of crime in mmj vendor neighborhoods! 

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