Patients, growers, and clinics in some of the 14 states that allow medical marijuana are falling victim to robberies, home invasions, shootings, and murders at the hands of thieves, the Associated Press reports. There have been dozens of cases in recent months. This week, a prominent medical marijuana activist in Seattle nearly killed a robber in a shootout. It was the eighth time thieves targeted his pot-growing operation.
California and Washington advocates are pushing to pass ballot measures to allow all adults, not just the seriously ill, to possess the drug. “Whenever you are dealing with drugs and money, there is going to be crime. If people think otherwise, they are very naive,” said Scott Kirkland, police chief in El Cerrito, Ca., and a critic of his state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law. “People think if we decriminalize it, the Mexican cartels and Asian gangs are going to walk away. That’s not the world I live in,” he said. Activists and law enforcement officials say it is difficult to get an accurate picture of crimes linked to medical marijuana; many drug users don’t report crimes for fear of getting unwanted attention from the authorities. For more on the medical marijuana issue, see the Inside Criminal Justice section of this site: http://thecrimereport.org/2010/03/14/pipe-dreams/