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Thursday, February 24, 2011
Hawaii’s future: LA Marijuana dispensaries outnumber Starbucks, McDonalds
By Selected News Articles @ 5:49 PM :: 9633 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

 

KITV Feb 24, 2011: Marijuana Dispensaries Headed For Senate Approval: Bill Would Tax Marijuana Sales, Stores

FROM Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition (www.ivdfc.org)

In California, law enforcement officials are struggling to keep up with the increased crime associated with the influx of pot dispensaries. In 2007 Los Angeles passed a moratorium on dispensaries, allowing the 186 already in operation to remain open. The moratorium had a loophole that allowed dispensaries to file a hardship exemption application. To date there are 966 marijuana dispensaries registered in Los Angeles, 779 of them have exemption applications pending, and 260 of them fall within 1,000 feet of a school, library or park. One dispensary, LA Collective, is operating across the street from a library. There are some neighborhoods in Los Angeles where the number of “medical” marijuana dispensaries outnumber the amount of Starbucks and McDonalds. After public backlash against the ever-present pot shops, the LA District Attorney’s office has pledged to crackdown on the illegal businesses.

Within the last two-years, over 200 cities and 14 counties in California have banned or passed a moratorium on pot shops. This number speaks volumes about what happens when communities see through the smokescreen and are enlightened as to what pot shops really bring their communities-more illegal drug use, more crimes, and more of our youth being sold marijuana (and sometimes other drugs) from a so-called medical marijuana patient.

Dispensaries are in business to make money and will sell marijuana to anyone who produces a written recommendation. These recommendations can be obtained by paying physicians a fee and claiming any medical condition, even a headache. Dispensaries claim to operate as nonprofit, but they have been tied to organized crime gangs and are often multi-million dollar profit centers.

Dispensaries are easy marks for criminal activities because of valuable marijuana crops and large amounts of cash. Operators of dispensaries have been attacked and murdered by armed criminals both at their storefronts and at home. Common secondary byproducts related to dispensaries include: drug dealing, sales to minors, loitering, heavy vehicle and foot traffic in retail areas, increased noise, and robberies of customers just outside the facilities.

Other secondary impacts to communities where dispensaries are located include: street dealers who hang around to sell at a lower price than the dispensary, marijuana smoking in public and in front of minors, an increase in traffic accidents and driving under the influence arrests in which marijuana is implicated, and the loss of other commercial businesses who don’t want to be located in the vicinity of marijuana dispensaries.

Please take the time to also read the below article.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS BAD FOR OUR COMMUNITIES

By Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D.

RIVERSIDE / SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, CA - May 21, 2008 - With all of the talk about medical marijuana dispensaries in California, it is hard to separate truth and science from ideology and dogma. In recent years, marijuana activists in the state have donned white coats and exclaimed a new found concern for the seriously ill, while legislators and judges have been left to wrestle with the consequences of a poorly written referendum, Proposition 215.

Unfortunately, Proposition 215 has nothing to do with the sick and dying, as a simple read of its text reveals that marijuana can be legally recommended for "any illness for which marijuana provides relief." This has led to a multi-million dollar, state sanctioned drug distribution industry, resulting in a substantial increase in medical fraud (the drug has been recommended for everything from hangnails to fatigue to reduced sex drive), "medical marijuana" use by minors, and increased local crime.

That is why scores of California localities, like the northern cities of San Pablo, San Rafael, Concord, Dublin, Fremont, Livermore, Newark, Pleasanton, and the southern cities of San Diego, San Marcos, Anaheim, Oxnard, Rancho Cucamonga, Norco, Hemet, Fontana, Murrieta, Temecula, Colton, Chino (among others), and after thoroughly studying the issue, have come out with a ban on such dispensaries. They should be commended.

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times, "This bud's for you, and you, and you" by Joel Stein and a 2007 expose by 60 Minutes have revealed just how easy it is to obtain marijuana - "sick" or not. So it is also not surprising that the Food and Drug Administration, American Medical Association, and the renowned Mayo Clinic have come out against smoked marijuana as a so-called "medicine." A landmark study almost ten years ago, conducted by the Institute of Medicine, stated that "…smoked marijuana should generally not be recommended for…medical use." Smoked marijuana (smoked anything) has never passed basic medical standards of safety and efficacy. Medical marijuana dispensaries mask as havens for the sick, when in reality they serve as city condoned centers for drug use.

Of course there may be some people who genuinely use it to "feel better" from their illness, but smoking a drug as volatile and unstable as marijuana is like chewing on willow bark to partake in the benefits of aspirin. For those whose doctors think that some components of the cannabis plant may be therapeutic, Marinol, derived from the plant's most active ingredient, THC, already exists. Though it's not often prescribed, doctors have the right to prescribe this drug if they feel it would best serve their patient (though non-cannabis based drugs are almost always chosen as a first resort).

Other isolated components in marijuana - delivered in aerosol sprays or patches - are currently being studied and research in this area is important. Cannabis-based drugs could indeed open new pathways to fight obesity, nausea, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses, but, just as someone should not inject heroin to gain the therapeutic effects of morphine, these drugs need to be used in the proper context and setting. Legalizing smoked marijuana under the guise of medicine is irresponsible and contradictory to basic scientific standards for therapeutic drugs. Even if smoking marijuana might make someone "feel better," that is not enough to call it a medicine. If that was the case, then tobacco cigarettes or vodka shots could be called medicine because they are often attributed to making one "feel better."

Furthermore, it is contrary to common sense and established law to have the electorate, influenced by big spending from pro-marijuana interest groups, decide what medicine is. Serious loopholes exist in Proposition 215 that permit the abuse of current drug laws, and allow drug dealers to avoid arrest and prosecution.

These are key reasons why a large, growing number of local city and county governments have moved toward banning medical marijuana identification cards and dispensaries. Other California communities should follow suit. Science needs to be the basis of both our legal and illegal drug policies, not political ploys designed to legalize smoked marijuana for any reason.

---30---

A native of Southern California, Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., is an Advisor to the Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition (www.ivdfc.org) and has been researching and consulting on drug abuse matters for over fourteen years. A Marshall Scholar, he is a former Office of National Drug Control Policy senior official under the Clinton and Bush Administrations, and is currently working on a book analyzing drug policy.

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