Marijuana and Crime

A  study which shows that marijuana dispensaries don’t attract crime is attracting interest today among liberal bloggers who oppose attempts to restrict marijuana dispensaries. The study shows that there is no increase in violent crime around marijuana dispensaries, at least around the area studied.

The problem is that even if opponents of marijuana dispensaries accept this argument, the fact remains that to these people marijuana dispensaries are related to one crime–use of marijuana. It would be rather naive to deny that marijuana dispensaries don’t provide a means for some people to obtain marijuana for reasons beyond legitimate medical use.

The underlying issue is not marijuana dispensaries but one’s attitude towards the legal status of marijuana. I would bet that the bast majority of us who support legal use of medical marijuana are not all concerned over whether some people manage to receive marijuana for non-medical reasons. It is more important to allow those with a medical need for marijuana to obtain it than to be concerned about whether some others also manage to use the system to obtain marijuana.

Marijuana dispensaries are tied to crime, but not a crime which should be prosecuted. If Barack Obama can find justification for the use of prosecutorial discretion with regards to immigration, the same could be done with regards to marijuana dispensaries. Of course that would only be a limited solution. The best solution would be to eliminate the crime and legalize use of marijuana. As long as marijuana is illegal, those who oppose medical marijuana will be able to find ways in which the law is being broken and find justifications to restrict the use of medical marijuana.


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