Study: Crimes Spike Following Closing of Dispensaries

3410000930_95fc2866fa_zThe closure of medical marijuana dispensaries is associated with an increase in larceny, property crimes, and other criminal activities, according to data published in the Journal of Urban Economics.

Researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Irvine assessed the impact of dispensary closures on neighborhood crimes rates in the city of Los Angeles. Investigators analyzed crime data in the days immediately prior to and then immediately after the city ordered several hundred operators to be closed. Authors reported an immediate increase in criminal activity – particularly property crime, larceny, and auto break ins – in the areas where dispensary operations were forced to close as compared to those neighborhoods were dispensaries remained open.

“[W]e find no evidence that closures decreased crime,” authors wrote. “Instead, we find a significant relative increase in crime around closed dispensaries.” Specifically, researchers estimated that “an open dispensary provides over $30,000 per year in social benefit in terms of larcenies prevented.”

They concluded, “Contrary to popular wisdom, we find an immediate increase in crime around dispensaries ordered to close relative to those allowed to remain open. The increase is specific to the type of crime most plausibly deterred by bystanders, and is correlated with neighborhood walkability. … A likely … mechanism is that ‘eyes upon the street’ deter some types of crime.”

The findings are consistent with those of prior studies determining that dispensary operations are not associated with ‘spillover effects’ in local communities, such as increased teen use or increased criminality.

An abstract of the study, “Going to pot? The impact of dispensary closures on crime,” appears online here.

How California?s 420 College Medical Marijuana Industry Training is Helping the Helpers.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 13, 2010

420 College (, the premier medical marijuana school in California, offers an all encompassing educational program for people who are interested in becoming a part of the thriving medical marijuana industry.

After their first year in business, 420 College has had over four-hundred students pass through their program, and acquire the training it takes to become a medical marijuana professional. The school?s success is dependent on what makes them different from other institutions of this nature.

Not only does 420 College provide an extensive education through all the in and outs of the business, but they also give their students other essential resources. The school helps both their students and the medical marijuana industry itself. In that, they make it possible for people in the program to connect with and gain knowledge from industry professionals of all types, including lawyers and licensed medical marijuana doctors, and provides the industry with individuals who want to be involved.

The students of 420 College have been applying their skills through entrepreneurial efforts. Business ownership is one of the most popular topics for the school, and they also offer resources for individuals to get into business for themselves.

These include a wide range of business start-up options, including:

-Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

-Medical Marijuana Delivery Services

-Non-Profit Medical Marijuana Collectives

-Medical Marijuana Co-operatives

-Medical Marijuana Cultivation Centers

There are other business models to follow, and new fields, such as producing increasingly popular edible marijuana products, are quickly cropping up. Students have also started or have become associates of non-profit and collective based organizations, whose activities range beyond cultivating and dispensing, to advocacy and addressing issues specific to the medical marijuana community. The focal point for the school is to help people join in what is being seen as the new industry that could help revitalize the economy.

Through connecting their students with experienced industry professionals, 420 College is helping build a supportive structure within the medical marijuana community, which reinforces it?s ability to give back on the local level. Many of these entities provide great services to the local community in the area of jobs, local revenue, and by providing care to medical marijuana patients in the immediate area.

420 College offers an array of class subjects that are customizable upon the needs and interests of the individual. They provide a series of educational seminars, as well as one-on-one and online sessions, which approach all subjects under the medical marijuana umbrella.

The people who attend the 420 College program are putting their skills to use in many areas of the trade. The program not only teaches skills, but helps each student pick the correct path for their interests, and puts various tools for success at their disposal.

For more information on 420 College, click here. Or visit


Study: Cannabis Associated With Lower Diabetes Risk

Adults with a history of marijuana use have a lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes and possess a lower risk of contracting the disease than those with no history of cannabis consumption, according to clinical trial data published in the British Medical Journal.

Investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles assessed the association between diabetes mellitus (DM) and marijuana use among adults aged 20 to 59 in a nationally representative sample of the US population of 10,896 adults. The study included four groups: non-marijuana users (61.0%), past marijuana users (30.7%), light (one to four times/month) (5.0%) and heavy (more than five times/month) current marijuana users (3.3%). Diabetes was defined based on self-report or abnormal glycaemic parameters.

Researchers hypothesized that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes would be reduced in marijuana users because of the presence of various cannabinoids that possess immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties.

Investigators reported that past and present cannabis consumers possessed a lower prevalence of adult onset diabetes, even after authors adjusted for social variables (ethnicity, level of physical activity, etc.), despite all groups possessing a similar family history of DM. Researchers did not find an association between cannabis use and other chronic diseases, including hypertension, stroke, myocradial infarction, or heart failure compared to nonusers.

Past and current cannabis users did report engaging in more frequent physical activity than nonusers, but also possessed higher overall levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides. By contrast, the highest prevalence of marijuana consumers were found among those with the lowest glucose levels.

Investigators concluded, “Our analysis of adults aged 20-59 years … Showed that participants who used marijuana had a lower prevalence of DM and lower odds of DM relative to non-marijuana users.” They caution, however: “Prospective studies in rodents and humans are needed to determine a potential causal relationship between cannabinoid receptor activation and DM. Until those studies are performed, we do not advocate the use of marijuana in patients at risk for DM.”

Previous studies in animals have indicated that certain cannabinoids possess anti-diabetic properties. In particular, a preclinical trial published in the journal Autoimmunity reported that injections of 5 mg per day of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD significantly reduced the incidence of diabetes in mice compared to placebo. Investigators reported that control mice all developed adult onset diabetes at a median of 17 weeks (range 15-20 weeks), while a majority (60 percent) of CBD-treated mice remained diabetes-free at 26 weeks.

Full text of the study, “Decreased prevalence of diabetes in marijuana users: cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III,” appears online here.

Pot Patient Wins Custody Case

Defense Attorney Lauren K. Johnson won a major court victory for parents who legally use marijuana for medical purposes last week in Los Angeles.  In the case of Drake A. (case # B236769), Division Three of the Second Appellate District, California Court of Appeal ruled on December 5, 2012 that there was no evidence showing that the defendant, a father, is a substance ab­user for simply being a legal medical marijuana patient. The court confirmed that while parents who abuse drugs can lose custody of their children, a parent who uses marijuana for medical reasons, with a doctor’s approval, isn’t necessarily a drug abuser.

The father, “Paul M.” was placed under DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) supervision after he testified in an October 2011 hearing that he used medical marijuana about four times a week for knee pain.  During that same hearing, he also stated that he never medicates in front of his children, nor is he under the influence while they are in his care.  DCFS supervision requires drug counseling, parenting classes and random drug testing.  During subsequent drug screenings the father tested positive for marijuana, and negative for all other drugs.  As a result, the Superior Court of Los Angeles ruled that the child was to become a “dependent of the court based on the trial court’s finding that [the] father’s usage of medical marijuana placed the child at substantial risk of serious physical harm or illness…”.

“Paul M.” appealed the former court’s ruling, which was challenged in the Second Appellate District of California.  The Appellate court subsequently ruled in favor of reversing the Superior court’s judgment.  The official ruling stated “[that the] DCFS failed to show that [the] father was unable to provide regular care for Drake [the minor child at issue] due to father’s substance abuse.  Both DCFS and the trial court apparently confused the meanings of the terms ‘substance use’ and ‘substance abuse’.”

Johnson issued a press release noting that this is the first case to distinguish between marijuana use and abuse with regards to child protection laws. “In overturning a Los Angeles Superior Court ruling against the plaintiff, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, the Appellate Court said the ‘mere usage of drugs,’ including marijuana, is not the same as substance abuse that can affect child custody, as alleged in this case by the lower court.”  She went on to say, “The ruling illustrates a growing recognition of the legitimate use of medical marijuana in this state and other states. We want kids to be safe, but we also want parents to be able to use legally prescribed medications when children appear not to be at demonstrated risk of harm.”

This has been a pervasive issue in California, as well as other medical marijuana states. Legal patients have lost custody of their children and been forced to turn their children over to a juvenile protection agency.  The NORML Women’s Alliance has been working hard to bring this issue to the forefront.  NORML Women’s Alliance Director Sabrina Fendrick issued the following statement; “This ruling is a small victory in our fight for legal marijuana patients’ parental rights.  We hope that future judicial hearings, as well as child protection agencies will utilize this judgment and adopt new policies that reflect the Appellate court’s ruling.”

Los Angeles City Council Overturns Their Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban

In a 11-2 vote, the Los Angeles City Council voted to overturn their ban on medical cannabis dispensaries. The council had previously voted 14-0 in favor of banning all dispensaries in the city.

Advocates vowed to overturn the ban and collected the more than 27,425 signatures required to force the council to either repeal the ban on their own or put the issue before voters early next year.

This is an evolving situation and NORML will keep you updated as it develops.

Last Chance To Register For NORML’s 41st Annual National Conference

These are the last days to register online to attend NORML’s 2012 national conference, ‘The Final Days of Prohibition,’ taking place Thursday, October 4th through Saturday, October 6th at The Omni Los Angeles Hotel.

Former CA Assemblyman and peace activist Tom Hayden will speak on Thursday morning. Best-selling travel author and TV host Rick Steves and NORML Founder Keith Stroup will address attendees at Friday’s Keynote luncheon, "Observations on the Final Days of Prohibition".

Round-table sessions and plenary speeches at NORML’s 41st annual conference include:

  • Pot-n-Politics 2012: A Review of Statewide Reform Initiatives Impacting Cannabis Consumers
  • Cannabis and the ‘Demo’ Gap: Who Does Not Support Cannabis Legalization and What Can We Do About It
  • Cannabis Legalization and Taxation: What Might It Look Like?
  • Broken Promises: Obama Administration and Federal Blowback Against Medical Cannabis Industry
  • The Changing Face of the Medical Cannabis Community
  • Seventy-Five Years of Cannabis Prohibition in America: A Review of the Cannabis Prohibition Epoch in America
  • Past is Prologue – Women’s Role in Ending American Prohibition[s]

States NORML’s Executive Director Allen St. Pierre: “2012 marks the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition. A majority of Americans for the first time now acknowledge wanting to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization and regulation, and this November, voters in a handful of states are poised to embrace this common sense policy. The 2012 national NORML Conference reflects upon the decades of failure imposed by prohibition, celebrates our recent progress at amending this policy, and looks forward to the very near future when cannabis prohibition is abolished once and for all.”

Social events include a Wednesday night welcoming reception, a Thursday night Activist Awards Ceremony, a joint High Times/NORML party and ‘Not-So-Silent’ Auction, a NORML Women’s Alliance Luncheon, and a Saturday night fundraiser at ‘The Hemp Museum’ in downtown Los Angeles.

NORML invites the public to join hundreds of like-minded marijuana law reformers at the nation’s only annual conference dedicated to ending cannabis prohibition.

Online registration and day passes, as well as details regarding conference speakers, agenda, and social events, is available at here.

Voter Referendum to Overturn LA Dispensary Ban Qualifies for Ballot

Today, the LA City Clerk announced that a referendum to overturn the recent Los Angeles City Council medical marijuana dispensary ban has qualified for the ballot.

Organizers had previously submitted signatures to the city and were informed today that they surpassed the 27,425 valid signatures required to qualify. There are now three possible outcomes for this effort: the LA City Council could choose to overturn the dispensary ban on their own, call for a special election on the issue, or place the referendum on the ballot for the March mayoral election.

The enforcement of the ban on medical cannabis dispensaries will remain suspended until the referendum is resolved. NORML will keep you updated as the situation progresses.

Supporters Turn In 50,000 Signatures, LA Marijuana Dispensary Ban Suspended

In July, members of the LA City Council approved a blanket ban on marijuana dispensaries in the city. This ban has now been suspended for the time being thanks to the efforts of medicinal cannabis supporters in the City of Angels.

Today, medical marijuana advocates turned in nearly double the 27,425 signatures required to force a voter referendum on the dispensary ban. The ban has been suspended temporarily to allow the city clerk 15 days to verify the signatures and see if the referendum officially qualifies. If it does, the council must either repeal the ban entirely or place the issue before voters in March 2013.

NORML will keep you posted as this situation evolves.

This Week in Weed and Video of RAND Congressional Briefing on Legalization

This Week in Weed

Click here to subscribe to NORMLtv and receive alerts whenever new content is added.

The latest installment of “This Week in Weed” is now streaming on NORMLtv.

This week: Oregon will vote on legalization, a new study on cannabis use and MS, and the LA City Council moves to ban medical marijuana dispensaries citywide.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Also, check out RAND Corporations presentation entitled “Should Marijuana Be Legalized?” which was presented on Capitol Hill this month. While NORML disagrees on many of the points made, RAND’s views make for a very interesting discussion.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Continued in Part 2 and Part 3

Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv every week to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as new content is added.

Study: Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Not Associated With Neighborhood Crime

The establishment of medical cannabis dispensaries does not adversely impact local crime rates, according to a federally funded study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) examined whether the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries is associated with elevated crimes rates. Researchers assessed the spatial relationship between density of medical marijuana dispensaries and two types of crime rates (violent crime and property crime) in 95 census tracts in Sacramento, California, during the year 2009.

Researchers reported: “There were no observed cross-sectional associations between the density of medical marijuana dispensaries and either violent or property crime rates in this study. These results suggest that the density of medical marijuana dispensaries may not be associated with crime rates or that other factors, such as measures dispensaries take to reduce crime (i.e., doormen, video cameras), may increase guardianship such that it deters possible motivated offenders.”

Authors acknowledged that their findings “run contrary to public perceptions” and that they conflict with public statements made by the California Police Chief’s Association, which had previously claimed, “Drug dealing, sales to minors, loitering, heavy vehicle and foot traffic in retail areas, increased noise, and robberies of customers just outside dispensaries are … common ancillary by-products of (medicinal cannabis) operations.”

The UCLA is not the first study to dispute the allegation that brick-and-mortar dispensaries are adversely associated with crime. A 2011 study of crime rates in Los Angeles published by the RAND Corporation similarly concluded, “[W]e found no evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries in general cause crime to rise.” However, shortly following its publication RAND removed the study from its website after their findings were publicly criticized by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office.

Other analyses of crime statistics in the cities of Denver, Los Angeles, and Colorado Springs have separately disputed the notion that the locations of dispensaries are associated with elevated incidences of criminal activity.

Full text of the study, “Exploring the Ecological Association Between Crime and Medical Marijuana Dispensaries,” appears in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

NORML SHOW LIVE #888 – And Now I’m Full

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Hemp Headlines

Brought to you by Cannabis Fantastic

  1. Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson escapes trafficking charges in marijuana case
  2. Los Angeles dispensary forced to close institutes shuttle service for patients
  3. Colorado legalization billboard asks if a marijuana user is “a bad person”
  4. Kentucky legislators paying attention to industrial hemp

Daily Toker Tunes

Groovin’ Thursday: Brought to you by The Ganja Jon Show

  • Kokane – “Comin’ From”

Southern California Scene with Hollywood Hemptress Tere Joyce

  • Jorge Diaz, co-star of “Budz House”

Cannabis Conversations

  • Richard Lee, founder of Oakterdam, on the Monday raids of his university and home
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NORML SHOW LIVE #855 – Highlights of MedCanCup LA

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NORML SHOW LIVE #852 – Live in Los Angeles with Tere Joyce

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Hemp Headlines

Brought to you by Cannabis Fantastic

  1. Roseanne Barr announces candidacy for Green Party presidential nomination
  2. Texas Councilman says he gets his marijuana and meth from prostitutes
  3. Peter Lewis bankrolls Massachusetts medical marijuana bill

Daily Toker Tunes

Irie Wednesday: Brought to you by NorCalPurps in the California Bay Area

  • Katchafire – “Meant to Be”

Cannabis Science with Dr. Mitch Earleywine

  • New study underscores that passing medical marijuana laws does not affect teen use of marijuana

Government at Work

  • Rep. Patricia Todd working to pass medical marijuana in Alabama legislature

The NORML Network / HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup “4:20 Somewhere” Raffles

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Next weekend we will be bringing you live coverage of the HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup in Los Angeles.  Tune in to on Saturday, Feb 11 and Sunday, Feb 12 from Noon to 7pm Pacific Time for free live coverage of the panels, the expo floor, and interviews with cannabis culture celebrities.

If you plan on attending the event, get your tickets online NOW – they sell out fast!  Use the promo code CANORML to get a special 40% discount for supporters of The NORML Network!

We will be holding our Special “4:20 Somewhere” Raffle both days at the Cannabis Cup.  Tickets are $5 at the event or five for $20 and the proceeds benefit The NORML Network.  We’ll have six raffles each day for over $2,000 worth of prizes and your ticket is good for every raffle until you win or the last raffle ends.  You need not be present to win, but you must pick up your prizes at the event; we will not ship them or hold them after 7pm Sunday.

We will announce the winning ticket numbers at :20 after on our live coverage (which you can view on our Ustream app for your iPhone or Android), through our @NORMLNet Twitter account (so follow us!), by text message to your cell (if you write your number on your tickets), and on a whiteboard at our merch desk.

Raffle Time
(Sat & Sun)
Prize Package Description
4:20 Eastern
(1:20 local)
“Schwag” The NORML Gold Leaf lapel pin ($5), NORML Sticker ($1), 6 NORML Buttons ($6)
4:20 Central
(2:20 local)
“Grass” The “Schwag” ($12) + Rick Steves Hemp Backpack ($35), NSL T-Shirt ($20)
4:20 Mountain
(3:20 local)
“Bud” The “Schwag” ($12) + Stealth Backpack ($80), NORML T-Shirt ($20)
4:20 Pacific “Kind” The “Bud” ($112) + Marijuana is Safer book ($15)
4:20 Alaska
(5:20 local)
“Dank” The “Bud” ($112) + Medical Marijuana in California book ($15), NORML Nug Jar ($15)
4:20 Hawaii
(6:20 local)
“Chronic” The “Dank” ($142) + A NORML Life DVD ($20) + Autographed NORML Banner

These packages may change by event time… most likely, they’ll get better as we get donations from other vendors to add!

Online viewers can also get in on a piece of the action.  At every raffle, we will randomly select one of our @NORMLNet Twitter followers to win a “Schwag” prize pack.  In the last three raffles of the day, we’ll add an autographed NORML banner signed by the whole NORML SHOW LIVE crew, HIGH TIMES crew, and other cannabis celebrities.

LA City Council Moves to Ban Dispensaries…again

Click here for more coverage of CaliforniaThe federal assault on medical marijuana dispensaries is heating up in Colorado and re-igniting in long embattled Los Angeles, California as well. LA’s City Hall is trying to ban medical marijuana dispensaries outright, and they are getting some help by the US Attorney’s Office.

Three dispensary operators in Long Beach were convicted for selling marijuana last week and those Southern California dispensaries that have been targeted are now going to lose all their property in asset forfeiture. According to a statement out today for the US Attorney’s office, they will take everything that belongs to targeted dispensaries in Orange and LA Counties.

Federal and state agents executed search warrants on three different medical marijuana dispensaries yesterday, and that led to a search of two separate marijuana growing operations, each with more than 500 plants. Letters from US Attorneys are still being sent out to some dispensaries, and the property owners where the dispensaries operate warning them they need to take the steps to stop the sale and distribution of cannabis at their stores, or face all the penalties that can incur at the hands of the federal government that doesn’t see marijuana as either a medicine or a legal substance.

Several dispensary owners in Southern California that ignored the warning letters last year now have court dates on the docket for 2012. And things don’t look like they will get any easier for medical marijuana dispensaries in LA. LA Councilman Jose Huizar is working to get all medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits to close their doors, a proposal he made to the council last month, and one that is gaining traction as the proposal got most of the details hashed out by the City Council’s Public Safety Committee in a closed door session last Friday WITH the US Attorneys for Southern California.

The LA City Council has had a long standing fight with dispensaries in the City of Angels. Since 2007 they have been working on regulations or outright bans, so far unsuccessfully. But now with the help of the threatening letters from the Feds, and the pressure on land owners, dozens of dispensaries have closed their doors.

The city tried to cap the number of dispensaries in LA at 100, and moved to do that based on a lottery system. A California Appeals court told them they couldn’t legally have a lottery system to choose business licenses, so many unlicensed shops have sprung up in the meantime, while the city has tried to find a way to regulate the medical marijuana market. As the number of dispensaries in LA have gone up, instead of down, it seems that the Council is more open to an outright ban than ever.

Dispensaries in LA have heard this kind of talk before, and all operate on the idea that there may be legal battles before them, but with this new round of cooperation between the city attorney’s office and the city council, many are understandably nervous. The ban proposal is now headed to the City’s Planning Committee for a hearing on January 26th, and could face a vote soon after that.

Jane Usher, a special assistant City Attorney said that they are working towards what they are calling a “gentle ban” that would still allow primary caregivers to grow medical marijuana, but not sell it in any kind of retail environment.

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