Putting Pot in Its Place
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Putting Pot in Its Place
Posted by CN Staff on September 23, 2011 at 18:16:42 PT
Source: Los Angeles Times
California -- A Rand Corp. study this week seemed to nip the conventional wisdom about medical marijuana dispensaries in the proverbial bud, contradicting statements from law enforcement officials that these facilities are magnets for crime. On the contrary, Rand researchers said, crime actually increased in the vicinity of hundreds of L.A. dispensaries after they were ordered to shut down.Does this mean that dispensaries decrease neighborhood crime rather than increasing it? Unfortunately, despite Rand's analysis, we still don't know the answer. There are so many obvious problems with Rand's study that it's impossible to come to solid conclusions about crime either way.
First and most glaringly, Rand's findings are based on a large and unwarranted assumption: that the dispensaries ordered by the city to close their doors on June 7, 2010, when L.A.'s sweeping medical marijuana ordinance took effect, actually did so. There were thought to be about 600 dispensaries operating in the city at that time, of which 430 received notification that they would have to close. Rand looked at crime statistics during the 10 days before the ordered closure and the 10 days afterward, and compared the numbers for locations near facilities that supposedly closed and the 170 that didn't. Within three-tenths of a mile of the "closed" facilities, there were 59% more criminal incidents than there were within the same distance of those that remained open, and a 24% increase within six-tenths of a mile.That's all very well, but there is no way of knowing whether those 430 dispensaries actually closed, and officials with the city attorney's office contend that many of them did not. Even if they did, the study really only tells us something about the immediate effect on crime of closing a medical marijuana facility, not whether these facilities increase crime on a long-term basis. If the dispensaries did close and if crime did go up nearby, it may be because, as the city attorney has argued, disgruntled former customers went on a rampage or because the facilities held fire sales to get rid of their inventory, driving more people to the area. Moreover, the 20-day time frame is too short for deriving reliable conclusions.For all that, we don't think the Rand analysis is completely without value. It's a rare attempt to quantitatively measure the impact of L.A.'s marijuana dispensaries on crime, and it points out that the story we've been told for years by law enforcement officials should be regarded with a degree of skepticism. The city attorney's office has argued in legal filings that the number of dispensaries in the city must be limited in order to deal with the "well-documented crime" they draw, yet the connection to crime is actually far from well documented. Similarly, county Sheriff Lee Baca has claimed that the state's medical marijuana program "has been hijacked by underground drug-dealing criminals who are resorting to violence in order to control their piece of the action," yet he hasn't presented any crime statistics to back that up.The lack of solid information about crime doesn't discredit efforts by the city of Los Angeles to limit and regulate dispensaries, although the lack of progress on that front is discouraging. After six years of trying to get a handle on a gray-market business operating between state and federal law, it's not clear that L.A. is any closer to eliminating rogue operators.The main problem for the city is that it's trying to build its ordinances on shifting and uncertain legal ground. Its 2010 ordinance, among the toughest in the state, ordered the closure of any dispensary that wasn't registered with the city as of Nov. 13, 2007, the date of a previous moratorium that was later overturned in court. Yet a Superior Court judge found that restriction unconstitutional, so the city had to craft a new law earlier this year. This time, any dispensary that could prove it was operating as of Sept. 14, 2007, whether it registered with the city or not, could apply to take part in a lottery, which would choose 100 facilities from among those eligible and allow them to remain in business.Predictably, this new restriction has attracted multiple lawsuits that have yet to be resolved, and the lottery is indefinitely stalled. Meanwhile, storefronts emblazoned with the green cross that denotes a medical marijuana facility open and close continually. The city has moved to close some down, yet many have delayed action with legal filings. Staffing shortages in the city attorney's office and other municipal departments have made identifying and citing these scofflaws a very slow process.Whether or not these rogue dispensaries attract crime, they are a nuisance. A lack of oversight means they could be selling anything, including marijuana laced with dangerous drugs or chemicals. California voters intended them to operate as nonprofit collectives, yet it's not clear they're all doing so. Also unclear is the extent to which they're selling to minors or people with no legitimate medical need. L.A. is right to try to crack down; now its lawyers just need to figure out a way of doing so that passes court muster. Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Published: September 24, 2011Copyright: 2011 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #14 posted by GentleGiant on September 27, 2011 at 05:34:28 PT:
We The People: Reschedule Marijuana to Schedule 3
Dear friends,I wanted to let you know about a new petition I created on We the People, a 
new feature on, and ask for your support. Will you add your 
name to mine? If this petition gets 5,000 signatures by October 27, 2011, 
the White House will review it and respond!Re-schedule Marijuana to the same level as Marinol, the government's synthetic equivalent of Marijuana, to Schedule 3.
Besides more than 22,000 studies that shows the absurdities of the Federal Government's 'flat earth' policy, that marijuana has no medical value, is completely absurd. Given that our body produces the same cannabinols that serves as a major life-functioning element within us to keep us alive. Given that there is more than 7000 years of written medical usage of marijuana. Given that U.S. doctors prescribed marijuana for nearly 100 years until abolished in 1937. Given that research shows that marijuana kills all cancerous cells, while leaving the healthy cells alone. Its time to end this blatant fraud perpetrated upon the American people. Re-schedule marijuana to schedule 3, the same as marinol, and let our doctors and researchers solve this problem, the greatest killer known to man, CancerYou can view and sign the petition here:
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on September 24, 2011 at 16:18:09 PT
Cheech and Chong
Cheech and Chong's Magic Brownie Adventure.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on September 24, 2011 at 12:24:05 PT
And I guess it would be censoring
to filter those guys out. That petition, about Extra Terrestrials, that went to a site selling DVDs. That ought to be censored a bit, somehow, on using the government site to sell a product.Federal pet neutering laws? I'm grief stricken at people's foolishness. Some more. 
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on September 24, 2011 at 12:09:52 PT
I think lowly of them.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on September 24, 2011 at 12:04:56 PT
Poking around in a can of worms...
It's to sell DVD's. That stupid petition was put there by a thing called Paradigm Research Group. They are ready to sell you a 5 DVD set, apparently explaining it all, called Disclosure Dialogues.A disgusting stunt. Guess it's rather a part of life these days though. 
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on September 24, 2011 at 10:34:16 PT
"Deliberately stupid!"
That's true. And it's been amazing to watch. But I've so had enough of it.I'm thinking about that White House petition site. I think I've seen an amazing political maneuver over there to completely devalue that whole effort. Probably, I'm opening a can of some kind of worms here, but what do you guys think? Did someone do that... with support from others, to completely devalue everything said at the site, or was that some sort of legitimate? There are petitions to make not neutering your pet a federal crime. There are petitions about infant circumcision. And so many jokes and puns all over the internet. It's like they stand the issue up to slap it down. I'm sick of that. This is serious. It has serious impact on a lot of people. Ask Runruff. And it needs very serious discussion by mature, sensible, rational, sane people.
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Comment #8 posted by afterburner on September 24, 2011 at 10:26:47 PT
"marijuana laced with dangerous drugs or chemicals
Federal regulation is no guarantee that dangerous chemicals will not be put into our food or meds:The Dirty Dozen- FDA and USDA list of the most highly contaminated foods.
24 Feb 2010  Strawberries, Raspberries and Cherries Strawberries are the crop that is most ... Apples and Pears With 36 different chemicals detected in FDA ... the FDA & USDA to Stop Putting Chemicals in our FOOD ... Ignoring Evidence That New Chemicals Created In Irradiated Food Could Be Harmful. Imports | Industries | Food & Beverages | EPA & Pesticide ...
Although EPA approves pesticide usage on foods and establishes pesticide residue tolerances by regulation, FDA enforces pesticide regulations. The majority of FDA enforcement surrounding pesticide use in foods is focused upon imported raw agricultural commodities and imported processed foods. Additives... Protect Your Family From Cancer-Causing Chemicals.
There are more than 3000 different food additives that are purposefully added to our food supply. Some of them are known to cause cancer!
... to be added to our food, political pressure has caused the FDA to relax these ... to translate the mind-boggling, scientific chemical names of food additives into a ... | Good Food 4 All.
1 May 2011  Tagged as chemicals in food, fast food health risks, FDA, GMO food, growth hormones in meat, Monsanto, pesticides & pregnancy, USDA ... Perfect Storm of GMOs, Chemicals, and Cancer | Dissident Voice.
12 Mar 2011  A Perfect Storm of GMOs, Chemicals, and Cancer ..... The FDA is also waging a war on natural dairy, shutting down producers and distributors ... if Big Agriculture, Big Pharma, and the fast food industries want them, they get them.Free our food and meds!
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on September 24, 2011 at 04:21:19 PT
Deliberately stupid!
Wouldn't it be just devastating to the prohib community if everything science and anecdotal evidence said were to be accepted as the the universal truth.I've noticed how every positive claim made be pro-cannabis crowd is met by prohibs with " we need more study", there needs to be more research on the subject.Go to the FDA and the DEA, "not enough research!" OK we say, let us do some research. "No, pot is to dangerous to even mess with", all past research has done is to give the dopers false hope". Bottom line, "use drugs, go to jail"!By being stupid these idiots will keep their jobs. They are of the same ilk as those who were recruited to run the Stalag's, possibly even their grandchildren? By enforcing prohibition the fed police keep hemp out of the industrial trades. They are actually suffocating America financially, lowering their tax base revenue therefore shooting themselves in the foot both figuratively and literally.Lock and load, let's rock and roll! 
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on September 23, 2011 at 23:50:27 PT
The last time I read it,
I'm sure it was reading the stories Dr. Grinspoon had collected and published. They're all online. At least they used to be. I didn't like the introduction in the boing boing piece... but it got me right to Mr. X's story. My sense of humor is rather abraded about it all, when it comes to this marijuana/cannabis illegality thing, so maybe it was "cuter" than I thought. It's all in how you look at it, I guess.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on September 23, 2011 at 23:44:05 PT
What I enjoyed...
Reading Mr. X's experience.Not the glib introduction to the Mr. X's story.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on September 23, 2011 at 23:21:53 PT
It's been so long... so many years
since I read this, I'd forgotten how much I'd enjoyed it.Carl Sagan, spaced out on pot
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on September 23, 2011 at 21:47:58 PT
"...selling to minors..."
It would be nice if minors didn't get sick, or hurt, or have cancer.
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on September 23, 2011 at 21:43:57 PT
Comment 1 Hempworld
Like! Like! Like!
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on September 23, 2011 at 21:39:36 PT
"marijuana laced with dangerous drugs or chemicals
"What a moronic editorial from the LA Times! So you mean to say that marijuana is NOT dangerous? Thank You! In my own experience marijuana is not laced with anything, unless you speak about laced with oatmeal cookies etc. for edibles.Yeah the Rand study nipped 'conventional wisdom' in the bud. Duh!Bottom line, why do you refuse to accept science, after all these years and cling to your same old stupid beliefs, all of which not validaded in science! I denounce the LA editorial board for a bunch of propagandists.
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