RAND Removes Its Own Pro-Marijuana Dispensary Study – Toke of the Town
That’s right – this is the study that RAND put together showing that crime went up in areas after dispensaries were closed, countering the nonsensical hype that dispensaries were “crime-magnets.”
It wasn’t a particularly controversial report to anyone with a lick of common sense, but it sent a message that drug warriors hated, so they fought the study, seizing on the limitations of the data. Now RAND had made it very clear when they released it that the study was not comprehensive, that it only covered a short time and didn’t track exactly the days that dispensaries actually closed, so it wasn’t like they were claiming this was some kind of blue-ribbon project, yet the L.A. City Attorney’s office managed to get them to yank it, at least temporarily.
I’m all for RAND making corrections when warranted, and if they can make the report even better, great. But we’ll be watching to see if they actually follow through and return the report in its proper form, rather than permanently trashing it (or changing the thrust of the research) because of political pressure.
In the meantime, the original report is available at ASA.
The recent major federal crackdown on dispensaries is getting a lot of press, and most of it is unfavorable to the feds.
An example is Jacob Sullum’s OpEd in the Chicago Sun Times: White House tramples California pot laws
President Barack Obama promised a more tolerant approach to medical marijuana, saying he would not â€œcircumvent state laws.â€ Instead he has delivered a crackdown more aggressive than anything under George W. Bush, featuring more frequent raids, threats to landlords and banks, and ruinous IRS audits. Although his underlings pretend they are respecting state law, they clearly have no intention of doing so.
Sullum counters Sabet:
â€œThe legalization advocates misread the tea leaves,â€ says Kevin Sabet, who served until recently as senior policy adviser to drug czar Gil Kerlikowske.
The administrationâ€™s assurances were considerably more explicit than tea leaves. Attorney General Eric Holder, for example, said â€œthe policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law,â€ as opposed to â€œorganizations that are [distributing marijuana] in a way that is consistent with state law.â€
I do find it interesting that Sabet would use the analogy of reading tea leaves – the notion that drug policy should be some indecipherable plant matter that is interpreted by whatever charlatan has the carny tent.
Perhaps it’s time for him to start reading the stems and seeds.
With all the furor and angst over medical marijuana, and now a clear and entrenched medical marijuana community that’s not going to go away regardless of IRS audits, federal crackdowns, and the fantasies of the L.A. City Attorney… is this perhaps a momentum shift toward the real solution of full marijuana legalization?
NORML seems to think so. Feds Keep Fooling Around With Medical Marijuana: Full Cannabis Legalization or Bust!
Rather than pour millions of dollars and human energy into creating a legally and politically contentious policy that allows some cannabis consumers who can obtain a physicianâ€™s recommendation to be immune from state (but not federal) prosecution during a time of general Cannabis Prohibition, all cannabis consumers, patients, cultivators and sellers and their families should focus their full attention and resources to once and for all legalizing cannabis for all responsible adult consumers.
Of course, this is part of a fundraising pitch, but the sentiment is real.
I know that some felt that we should never have bothered with medical cannabis at all. Others felt that medical cannabis was an important thing in its own right, and also that it would help pave the way by reducing public fear of pot. That seems to have had some value as polls over the past years have shown a weakening of opposition to legalization.
The need for medical marijuana will not go away, nor will the medical marijuana movement.
But it does appear that this may be an opportunity to demonstrate how completely out of touch and corrupt the federal government is in relation to cannabis politics and use that to help the movement forward toward full legalization.