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Gunman Robs Dispensary Employee, But Pot Shops Are Safe Places (Right?)

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Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 4:04 PM

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  • LAPD
One of City Hall's quandaries as it considered a law to limit the number and scope of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles was the fact that these places have been, at times, crime magnets. Eying their green bud and green cash, gunman have hit several dispensaries in the three years that the council has sat on its collective hands.

The most recent violence happened in the 8900 block of Reseda Boulevard in Northridge earlier this month (video) when a 33-year-old employee was robbed and shot. He was later hospitalized and stabilized, but the crime calls into question Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck's strange recent, 180-degree assertion that the idea pot shops attract criminals "doesn't really bear out." Beck, in the past, had noted that the kind of money taken in at some dispensaires "causes robbery, burglary, and a couple cases this year of homicide."

Beck's flip flop came at a time when the council was trying to find ways to allow pot shops to continue operating essentially as-is, but with stricter hours and in fewer numbers. The District Attorney, the City Attorney and the state Attorney General have all essentially said that selling marijuana for money was not what was outlined in the state's medical marijuana law, which authorized not retailers but nonprofit collectives that would grow and share pot among the "seriously ill."

Now, bad men with guns? That's seriously ill. The council finally passed its pot shop ordinance Tuesday. It mandates that all transactions at dispensaries be nonprofit, and it limits cash and weed supplies they keep on-hand. but it doesn't really require the kind of "Kumbaya," non-retail collectives outlined in state law.

So, you tell us? Is the new ordinance really going prevent the kind of violence that happened in Northridge this month from occurring again?

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