Study Raises Questions About Clinics Link To Crime

Jun 8, 2012

Med­ical mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries would seem to be nat­ural tar­gets for crim­i­nals. Accord­ing to a lead­ing the­ory of crim­i­nol­ogy, pot dis­pen­saries have sev­eral key attrib­utes that put them at risk: – They sell a prod­uct (mar­i­juana) that is attrac­tive to crim­i­nals. – They usu­ally oper­ate on a cash-only basis (a cash stash also tends to attract would-be thieves). – The clients of mar­i­juana clin­ics carry cash (in order to pur­chase their med­i­cine). – Many clients are frail due to their med­ical con­di­tions and may not be able to fight off attack­ers. In Europe, “hash clubs” and other drug dis­pen­saries have devel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion as being “a breed­ing ground for crim­i­nal net­works,” accord­ing to a new study by two UCLA researchers. And some recent head­lines indi­cate that U.S. pot dis­pen­saries may be on track to fol­low suit. A 2009 white paper from the Cal­i­for­nia Police Chiefs Assn. made a pretty good case that they would: “Mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries are com­monly large money-making enter­prises that will sell mar­i­juana to most any­one. … While the dis­pen­saries will claim to receive only dona­tions, no mar­i­juana will change hands with­out an exchange of money. These oper­a­tions have been tied to orga­nized crim­i­nal gangs, fos­ter large grow 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 pair of researchers from UCLA’s Luskin School of Pub­lic Affairs decided to see whether clin­ics in Cal­i­for­nia (one of 17 states that has legal­ized med­ical mar­i­juana, along with the Dis­trict of Colum­bia) fit the Euro­pean pro­file. Nancy Kep­ple and Brid­get Freisth­ler focused on Sacra­mento, where dis­pen­saries oper­ated for six years before local reg­u­la­tory poli­cies were put in place in 2010. The researchers mapped all 40 clin­ics in the city, fig­ur­ing out whether they were in neigh­bor­hoods with many single-parent house­holds, fam­i­lies liv­ing in poverty, vacant hous­ing units, a high pro­por­tion of young men, easy access to a free­way on-ramp and other char­ac­ter­is­tics asso­ci­ated with crime. Then they plugged in crime data from 2009 to see if there were any rela­tion­ships between rob­beries, thefts and other acts of vice and the pres­ence of drug dis­pen­saries. The mod­els the researchers came up with con­firmed that fac­tors such as unem­ploy­ment, com­mer­cial zon­ing and a high pro­por­tion of young adults were indeed asso­ci­ated with higher crime rates. But the num­ber of mar­i­juana clin­ics in a neigh­bor­hood had noth­ing to do with any of it, they found. Writ­ing up their results in the July issue of the Jour­nal of Stud­ies on Alco­hol and Drugs, how­ever, the researchers didn’t seem to be per­suaded by their own results. They noted that one pos­si­bil­ity is that “the den­sity of med­ical mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries may not be asso­ci­ated with neighborhood-level crime rates,” but they also the­o­rized that the rela­tion­ship “is likely more com­plex” than could be mea­sured with the avail­able data. To make a con­vinc­ing case that pot dis­pen­saries really don’t con­tribute to crime, the out­lets would need to be tracked in more cities for a longer period of time, they wrote. Source: Los Ange­les Times (CA) Author: Karen Kaplan, Los Ange­les Times Pub­lished: June 7, 2012 Copy­right: 2012 Los Ange­les Times Con­tact: letters@​latimes.​com Web­site: http://​www​.latimes​.com/

73c0d9be6cjuana2.jpg 150x111 Study Raises Questions About Clinics Link To Crime

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Study Raises Ques­tions About Clin­ics Link To Crime

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