Andrew DeAngelo Sees Assurance in New Dispensary/Crime Study

“I hope this excellent article from the Washington Post will provide comfort and reassurance to those concerned about the presence of medical cannabis dispensaries in Boston. The reduction of crime and increase in public safety outlined in the article is just one of many benefits a well managed dispensary brings to its neighborhood. I and the entire Green Heart team look forward to working with our neighbors to bring all of these benefits to the  community.” – Andrew DeAngelo

The Washington Post: No, legalizing medical marijuana doesn’t lead to crime, according to actual crime stats


Opponents of medical marijuana envision all kinds of insidious ways that legalizing the drug might lead to crime. Make marijuana more accessible, and more people will use it. If more people use it, more will tumble through the weed “gateway” to cocaine, or worse. Those people will then engage in crime to fund their hard-drug habits, or violence in the service of getting the stuff.

Furthermore: Once word gets out about medical dispensaries, those locations will become hotspots for criminals who now know exactly where to find prey carrying cash and drugs. Same goes for grow houses, which just invite property crime.

Pondering all of these dark possibilities, it’s no wonder anyone suspects mayhem in medical marijuana laws. Actual historic crime data, however, suggest there’s no evidence that legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes leads to an increase in crime. In fact, states that have legalized it appear to have seen some reductions in the rates of homicide and assault.

These findings come from a nationwide study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One (which is notable for the fact that no one seems to have done this crucial analysis before). Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas looked at the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report data across the country between 1990 and 2006, a span during which 11 states legalized medical marijuana. Throughout this time period, crime was broadly falling throughout the United States. But a closer look at the differences between these states – and within the states that legalized the drug before and after the law’s passage – further shows no noticeable local uptick among a whole suite of crimes: homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft.

The robbery and burglary findings are particularly interesting, as those are the crimes we’d most likely expect to see outside of medical dispensaries. But what about the apparent declines in homicide and assault?

The researchers, Robert G. Morris, Michael TenEyck, J.C. Barnes and Tomislav V. Kovandzic, caution that this may be a mere statistical artifact of their analysis. But there’s also a plausible explanation:

While it is important to remain cautious when interpreting these findings as evidence that MMLreduces crime, these results do fall in line with recent evidence [29] and they conform to the longstanding notion that marijuana legalization may lead to a reduction in alcohol use due to individuals substituting marijuana for alcohol [see generally 29, 30]. Given the relationship between alcohol and violent crime [31], it may turn out that substituting marijuana for alcohol leads to minor reductions in violent crimes that can be detected at the state level.

Read the full article.

Harborside Patients Speak: Where Will I Get My Medicine?

Published on Jan 9, 2013

On July 10, 2012, federal agents taped a notice of property forfeiture to the doors of Harborside Health Center, a medical cannabis dispensary located in Oakland and San Jose, Calif. If successful, this federal action would shut down Harborside, forcing thousands of patients back into the underground, illegal market. The closure of Harborside would have an especially destructive effect on California’s most medically challenged patients, who are less able to negotiate the dangers of the illegal marketplace, and cannot risk using untested cannabis from unregulated sources.

The patients featured in this video volunteered their stories.  They are afraid that if Harborside closes, they will have no reliable, safe source for the medicine they depend on.

NORML estimates that there are now over 1.1 million medical cannabis patients in the state of California alone. Patients use medical cannabis to alleviate suffering from a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, cancer, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and HIV-AIDS.

Harborside Health Center was founded in 2006 to ensure these medical cannabis patients receive medicine that is safe and effective, and is provided in full compliance with state law. Since then Harborside has become known nationwide as a model medical cannabis dispensary that has set the standard for best practices in legal compliance and responsible operation.

Press Release: Harborside’s Steve DeAngelo Receives Alameda Board of Supervisors Commendation of Service

For Immediate Release - February 6, 2013

Oakland, Calif. — Some parts of government do honor good work! It’s always important to offer visible acknowledgements and achievements within the community, and Alameda County’s Board of Supervisors did just that. Despite a dramatic and rocky year for the Northern California medical cannabis industry in and out of the U.S. Federal Courts, local officials recognized and appreciated a job well done by awarding medical cannabis activist Steve DeAngelo an official commendation for his service to the community.

The Commendation of Service was given to Harborside Health Center (HHC) for its six years of providing the community with free alternative holistic medicine, and to Steve DeAngelo, HHC co-founder and executive director, for his four decades of cannabis activism and advocacy. Supervisor Nate Miley presented the commendation. (see photo to the right)

“Last year was a roller coaster of legal entanglements with the federal government,” said DeAngelo. “It’s heartening to get this kind of recognition from the Board of Supervisors. We continue to be encouraged by this kind of visible support from our local officials, and will continue to serve our patients and community in every possible way.”

About Harborside Health Center

With locations in Oakland and San Jose, Harborside Health Center is the premier medical cannabis dispensary in California. As one of the first alternative health facilities of its kind, Harborside offers the best quality product and compassionate, individualized service to all medical cannabis patients. Harborside also strives to protect community safety and cleanliness by strictly observing and enforcing state laws regarding medical cannabis.

Media Contact:

Gaynell Rogers
Media Relations and Special Projects
Management for Steve DeAngelo
Harborside Health Center
(415) 298-1114

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