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Letter to the editor: Vote ‘Yes’ on Measure F for a safer city

As a retired law enforcement professional, I know that the voice of the local police is crucial in the dialogue about drug policy. This is why as the former lieutenant commander of the Redondo Beach Police Department, I feel compelled to speak out in support of Measure F in Encinitas.

One area where law enforcement is qualified to speak regarding medical marijuana is the arena of public safety. Patients need to have regulated and legal access to medication so that they are not searching for illegal street drugs, risking their safety and benefiting illicit drug dealers.

Patients need dispensaries as a secure and safe place to access medical marijuana. Otherwise, they are forced into the streets or other cities to buy marijuana, which only benefits the criminal element and threatens public safety. Giving people a safe local option to get their medicine is a sound policy that will enhance public safety.

The 2011 study by the Rand Corporation disproved the common misconception that medical marijuana dispensaries attract crime. In a study of crime near Los Angeles dispensaries, Rand found that after dispensaries were required to close, crime nearby actually increased.

In 2012, a UCLA study entitled “Exploring the Ecological Association between Crime and MMD “Medical Marijuana Dispensaries)” found that “density of medical marijuana dispensaries was not associated with violent or property crime rates.” Alternatively, there is no increase in crime associated with properly regulated medical marijuana operations.

There are many law enforcement agencies that are successfully regulating medical marijuana dispensaries in California. San Diego, Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and West Hollywood have all successfully implemented regulated storefront operations with no increase in crime in the surrounding areas.

Illicit and criminal distribution of marijuana would be greatly reduced by the city of Encinitas adopting the reasonable rules permitting regulated medical marijuana dispensaries that are proposed in Measure F. Concerns surrounding crime are addressed by the sensible security protocols included in the measure, which allow law enforcement to work with the legitimate patients and providers to ensure public safety.

As a former lieutenant commander, I urge you to vote yes on Measure F — to enhance public safety while protecting patients’ rights.

Diane Goldstein, Executive Board member, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition


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