Lack of Realistic Cannabis Regulation Leads to High Crime in San Diego


San Diego Police Department
Evidence photo from an October 15th raid on Market Greens marijuana dispensary in San Diego, CA

Another week means another horrible round of cannabis-related headlines coming out of sunny San Diego, California. In an attempt to turn America’s Finest City into the nation’s Ground Zero in the War on Weed, San Diego city officials, backed by a militant branch of the DEA and weed-hating local law enforcement, have almost totally shut down any idea of safe access to medical marijuana.
San Diego’s scene has been slashed from over 300 storefront medical marijuana dispensaries in 2011, to less than 40 in operation today – and not one of those 40 is operating with the consent of the city.

Anytime one of these unregulated, fly-by-night pot shops gets raided, and is found to be breaking a wide array of laws, city officials cannot wait to issue a press release to express their satisfaction with the bust, as well as their overinflated concerns that if one weed store is up to no good, then they all must be.
This is the message being spouted by San Diego City Attorney, and uptight pot-hater, Jan Goldsmith after an October 15th raid successfully shut down another shady dispensary.
When a growing number of pot shops began to re-open earlier this year across the city, a renewed effort was put forth by the city and their hired thugs to squash the industry’s growth with a new round of aggressive investigations and raids.
When the dominoes began to fall, they would just follow the crowd to the next clandestine shop and bust them as well. This type of lazy police work typically leads to well-intentioned businesspeople having their lives upended over a plant, but once in a while, it does lead the cops right to the crooks.
Such was the case when the closure of a National City dispensary led to an influx of patients heading to a new spot called Market Greens. The narcs followed the herd, and even sent one of their own undercover agents into the pot shop to conduct a transaction as they built their case.
The plain-clothes cop left Market Greens with a $45 gram of boo boo hash oil, but that’s not all. Someone at the shop also allegedly sold him a bag of rock cocaine.
No word on whether or not it was medical blow.
When law enforcement showed up on October 15th to serve a warrant and conduct their raid, they were denied access to the product storage area of the shop, which was behind a locked security door.
They simply smashed it open and were met by a Market Greens associate who began pulling a gun from his waistband when the cops came charging in. One look at their paramilitary gear was all it took for him to surrender himself and his weapon.
Four people were arrested at the scene, but not before the cops turned up 4.5 grams of coke and four firearms.
One of the men arrested was found in the parking lot with a .40 caliber handgun in his waistband, and a full clip in his back pocket. A quick background check revealed a sordid rap sheet including convictions for battery of a police officer, armed robbery, and attempted murder.
“These illegal dispensaries are risky, they can be dangerous and they are attractive to criminals,” City Attorney Jan Goldsmith told the Union-Tribune.
What Goldsmith conveniently fails to mention is that there is almost literally no way for an aspiring medical marijuana business to become legal in San Diego. 18-year old California state laws be damned, it took San Diego 17 of those years just to pass an ordinance by which dispensaries could be regulated.
Now that an ordinance has been drafted and put in place by the conservative San Diego City Council, it restricts all but the very wealthy and very connected from ever having a shot at one of the few permits that they promise to grant.
Currently, only 13 permit applications have been submitted, with none granted.
Meanwhile 70,000+ San Diego residents identify themselves as medical marijuana users, and are being forced to access points that are anything but safe or convenient.
With no regulation in place, the legitimate and compassionate people in San Diego’s medical marijuana scene have no incentive to risk finances or freedom on a venture that the city brags about shutting down three times a week.
Instead, it is the crooks and the criminals, those with nothing left to lose, who step up to rake in the profits associated with the high demand for good weed. They work with shady landlords with decrepit buildings in questionable neighborhoods, further eroding any semblance of safe access.
Then the city boasts when they bust these creeps, and follow it up with a grave warning that all marijuana dispensaries are crack-dealing, gun-toting fronts for dangerous criminal activity.
Sort of like a pyromaniac firefighter.
Whether or not a legitimate medical marijuana community can eventually rise from the ashes in San Diego remains to be seen.