Due to a glitch in an attempted moratorium on medical cannabis dispensaries in Los Angeles, the number these legal marijuana outlets recently flourished into hundreds. In parts of LA, such storefronts may indeed be more numerous than Starbucks. Confounding medical marijuana’s detractors, the LA crime rate during this same time dropped like a rock.
The LA Times report, “L.A.’s medical pot dispensary moratorium led to a boom instead.” is datelined June 3 2009. An exemption in a moratorium instead allowed hundreds of cannabis clinics to pop up in LA. The density is highest here, but across the state dispensaries flourish. The booming cannabis industry is growing as most other sectors of the California economy are swooning. Arguably, the medical marijuana industry is the single most vigorous new economic engine in the state.
- New business storefronts are opening up when the general trend has seen stores being boarded up.
- A major crop can arise from hiding to take its rightful place in California agriculture. Already the economies of several counties in the state’s north are powered by cannabis cultivation.
- New careers are being forged in the 21st century education provided by institutions such as Oaksterdam University in Oakland (and now LA). Classes in medicinal cannabis educate students in the pain relief, anti-inflammation, anti-glaucoma, anti-nausea and other health properties of the cannabinoids in the plant substance.
- Sales taxes are being generated that help financially prop up the not-so Golden State. For every one hundred dollars of medical cannabis sales, the state gets over 8 dollars for its empty coffers.
The benefits of medical cannabis are ubiquitous. Most people have conditions, including pain, at some point in their lives when they could benefit from treatment with, or including, the medical herb. The California law passed by Proposition 215 was wisely worded to legalize any prescribed use of cannabis. Tens of millions of Californians, then, either have or will sometime have health conditions from which they could benefit from legal medical cannabis. With so many people finding relief from pain and other maladies coming from a substance previously and cruelly banned from them, it is little wonder a new industry is thriving in California.
The drug warrior bureaucracy including DEA, prosecutors, SWAT squads, prison guards and urine testers have long warned that legalization of marijuana would result in a wave of crime. Well, marijuana has become de facto legalized in California, especially LA. At the same time LA street crime has dropped precipitously.
Just a week before the proliferating dispensaries article cited above, the LA Times’ Gregory Rodriquez reported:
- Nationally, crime has been up in some places and down in others. But overall? Dramatically down. And here in Los Angeles, the drop is particularly stunning. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, compared with the same period in 2008, homicide is down by 32%; rape 12%; robbery 3%; burglary 6%, and grand theft auto a shocking 18%.
Not exactly the Armageddon predicted by the drug war bureaucrats. This privileged class thrives on the taxpayer-funded war on marijuana. Their lavish benefits and pensions all ultimately derive from the caging of their countrymen and women. A major budget problem for California stems from the quintupling of its prisoner population during the drug war of the the last 40 years, in good part in the behest of the state’s prison guard’s politically powerful union. This vast investment in negative social capital has grown far faster than funding for the positive social capital investment, education. And now, California is paying the price. The apparent inverse relationship between cannabis dispensary proliferation and crime belies the claims of those benefiting from the war on drugs.
- More recent evidence comes from the Netherlands, the country in the world where cannabis is most legal, and crime rate. While California can’t build prisons fast enough (to satisfy the prison guard’s union at least) the Dutch are having to close eight prisons for lack of prisoners, because the crime rate is so low.
- Over in Portugal, that nation decriminalized not just cannabis, but all drugs. The results? Extremely positive, with lowered drug use and harm reduction across the board. No increase in crime.
With any notion of crime increase as cannabis is decriminalized has been debunks. There can be no reason not to end the tragic war on cannabis now!