Weed and Politics - NBC 7 San Diego

Weed and Politics

A crime on Shelter Island adds fuel to the debate over legalizing pot



    Police are looking for a man who broke into a medical marijuana dispensary. Critics say the crime is one more reason to vote against Proposition 19.

    In a surveillance video taken around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning in Point Loma, you can see a man in a baseball cap smashing through the front door of a marijuana dispensary with a hammer.

    “He came up to the second security barrier hit it a good number of times and broke the tempered glass,” said Michael Banki, owner of San Diego Organic Collective.

    The suspect then shattered a display case, stealing 50 marijuana joints. Between the stolen weed and repair costs, Banki is out $2,500.

    Weed and Politics

    [DGO] Weed and Politics
    A crime at a medical pot dispensary adds fuel to the debate over legalizing pot.
    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010)

    The business owner said he's been open a year and hadn't had any problems until Tuesday. He doesn't believe his business is at a higher risk of crime because of the drugs they sell.

    “I think it's just like any other retail business,” he said. “It could have been me; it could have been the liquor store down the street. It could've been the clothing boutique you know?”

    Not everyone agrees.

    John Redman opposed Propositions 215, which legalized medical marijuana in California. He is also fighting against Prop 19. 

    “In a location where you have drugs and money and people think there won't be crime? No. These dispensaries have lots of crime,” said the Director of Communities in Action.

    He believes passing Prop. 19 will bring even more crime to San Diego neighborhoods.

    “I get phone calls every week from people who live around the dispensaries and the problems they are having,” Redman said.

    Prop. 19 would legalize recreational marijuana use and allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Residents could cultivate marijuana gardens up to 25 square feet on private property. City and county governments would decide whether to allow and tax sales of the drug.

    Recent polls have shown support for Proposition 19 sagging among voters.