I won’t even lie…I LOLd when I read that headline out loud.
In all seriousness, I finally got to sit down and read the report submitted to the County Commission expressing the Sheriff’s department view of medical cannabis dispensaries. It’s bleak. It paints a picture of spiraling crime, teen drug use, and death on the highways.
After hearing it, Commissioner Wells asked if there was any GOOD news about medical cannabis. This question was met with silence. According to our law enforcement experts and county staff, there is nothing good about medical cannabis…Or if there IS, it is clearly outweighed by the threat to public safety presented by the substance. The ‘product’, as the Sheriff’s Office PowerPoint called it.
The report depended heavily on a presentation by the Colorado Police Chief’s Association, and the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy. Unfortunately, the CPCA report was riddled with conflations of problems related to recreational cannabis legalization, not really reflective of medical pot experience.
It’s interesting to me that our Sheriff’s Office chose to use data from the CPCA and Iowa Office of Drug Control, and NOT the report from the Colorado Department of Public Safety, which painted a much less dire picture:
“ Colorado’s property crime rate decreased 3%, from 2,580 (per 100,000 population) in 2009 to 2,503 in 2014.
Colorado’s violent crime rate decreased 6%, from 327 (per 100,000 population) in 2009 to 306 in 2014.
It should be noted that the most fundamental challenge to interpreting data related to marijuana over time stems from unmeasured changes in human behavior concerning marijuana. Legalization may result in reports of increased use, when it may actually be a function of the decreased stigma and legal consequences regarding use rather than actual changes in use patterns. Likewise, those reporting to poison control, emergency departments, or hospitals may feel more comfortable discussing their recent use or abuse of marijuana for purposes of treatment. The impact from reduced stigma and legal consequences makes certain trends difficult to assess and will require additional time to measure post‐ legalization. Additionally, for example, the increase in law enforcement officers who are trained in recognizing drug use, from 32 in 2006 to 288 in 2015, can increase drug detection rates apart from any changes in driver behavior. For these reasons, these early, baseline findings should be carefully considered in light of the need to continue to collect and analyze relevant data. ”
In my Google session, I did not get far enough into the report to address the ONE slide that focused on skyrocketing crime in California…But earlier today, I read a report from the California Department of Law Enforcement that said there was ZERO appreciable crime increase surrounding pot dispensaries in that state…And that any crime rate rise was attributable to the very same things observed in 2012, and 2010, and 2008.
There is a disconnect. For the last…eighty years, marijuana has been used as a scapegoat and a tool of oppression. To keep in line brown people, black people, and then long haired hippie people. It has been vilified out of all context and scope. Unfortunately, our authority systems created that view of marijuana, and those who use it, and that system cannot seem to let go of the idea that those that use marijuana, whether for medical OR recreational purposes, are somehow degenerate, lazy criminals.
You don’t have to be a zealot to read the inference, particularly in the report submitted to the Commission by staff…Ideas such as banning loitering and drinking, and keeping dispensaries away from game arcades…These are ideas based on a bar model. What happens at a MEDICAL dispensary is not a party. It’s OFFENSIVE that people are being encouraged to think so.
I would challenge our County Commissioners, today:
Go and meet with medical cannabis patients. Please do this. I can introduce you to several, right here in Pasco County. Luckily, some of them are PAST their health crises, and no longer need the pain relief or appetite stimulation of cannabis. However, there are some folks in this county who are waiting for the day when they can relieve THEIR pain, their suffering, their anxiety by using a relatively harmless (certainly compared to many dangerous pharmaceutical alternatives) substance.
They would like the consideration given to every OTHER patient, who can get THEIR medication, right here in Pasco County.
Go and visit a dispensary. Meet and talk to the operators, patients, and caregivers. Please do this BEFORE you extend the moratorium. Sick people in our county beg of you…Don’t make them “some other county’s problem”. I suspect if one of YOUR kids or family members had leukemia, or MS, or PTSD, you would want them to be able to get the care they needed at home.
Why don’t you want that for MY family members and friends?