Protect public safety, vote no on Nipomo pot shop

November 2, 2015


On Nov. 3, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will consider a minor use permit (MUP) application to establish a medical marijuana dispensary at 2122 Hutton Road in Nipomo. Many residents in Nipomo have stated their opposition to this proposal. Several law enforcement officials, including Sheriff Parkinson are scheduled to voice their concerns at the board of supervisors.

The applicant company, Ethnobotanica, is headquartered in Santa Cruz County and along with 30 other companies currently “home delivers” medical marijuana in San Luis Obispo County. Thus, medical marijuana is readily available for authorized patients. The applicant, however, desires to open a retail outlet to expand operations.

The applicant previously presented the MUP application to the South County Advisory Council (SCAC) and after a discussion, with input from the audience, the SCAC voted 8-2 to recommend denial of the application to the SLO County Board of Supervisors.

The most important aspect of this recommended denial of the application was the concern for public safety.

The proposed location is near the intersection of Highways 166 and 101, just north of the Santa Barbara County line. Santa Barbara County has prohibited medical marijuana dispensaries in their county and if this application is approved in SLO County, this retail outlet would be the only dispensary on the Central Coast. It would certainly attract the widespread interest of legitimate users as well as the criminal element. Sheriff Brown of Santa Barbara County has publicly stated that this dispensary is a “bad idea” and he opposes the dispensary.

Medical marijuana dispensaries have been the target of robberies and burglaries at numerous locations within California. In a number of instances, violence has occurred. For example, in California, just this year:

In San Bernardino, an armed security guard at a medical marijuana dispensary was shot and killed during a robbery.

In Upland, a police SWAT unit arrested four armed suspects following a dispensary robbery in which the suspects pistol-whipped an employee and shot another in the leg.

In Bakersfield, a defendant who shot and killed two individuals during a robbery at a dispensary there has just pled guilty to murder.

In San Diego, trial has been ordered for two defendants for a robbery and shootout at a dispensary which left an accomplice dead and a guard wounded.

In Los Angeles, three robbers hit a mid-Wilshire dispensary and shot an employee in the leg.

The target for these criminal acts is not only the marijuana, but the large amount of cash generated by the dispensaries. These are just examples of recent violent crimes, but numerous other dispensary related crimes have occurred such as burglaries, money laundering, the resale of medical marijuana to juveniles and organized crime involvement in the supply of medical marijuana to dispensaries.

The SLO County Sheriff’s Department’s representative publicly stated that due to the remote location of the proposed dispensary the estimated response time of deputies to a crime at that location would be from 10 to 30 minutes. Obviously, this delay of emergency response puts the safety of the public in jeopardy.

It should be noted that on May 5, 2013, The California Supreme Court ruled that cities and counties had the authority to ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients’ Health Center, Inc. 2013 Cal Lexis 4033).

A retail medical marijuana dispensary in the proposed location is a serious and unnecessary exposure to our citizens who may have the misfortune of being caught up as an innocent bystander during a critical incident stemming from the dispensary.

If you are concerned about this public safety threat to the community you are urged to attend the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting to express your opinion.

Dick Wright has lived in Nipomo for 12 years. He is the public safety representative for the South County Advisory Council. For 40 years, he worked in law enforcement.

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As I recall, the collection plate at church is an all cash affair — sounds dangerous.

keep it away from Dick he may try to seize it for himself under asset forfeiture laws because every dollar bill might have residue cocaine on it.

Dick makes this argument because he is afraid that Dicks like him can no longer be thieves (asset forfeiture, arrest revenue, fear mongering) if Marijuana is legal.

Apparently Mr. Wright’s main objection is the business would be too successful and have plenty of cash, and be a target for robbery, and therefore be a danger to the public. By that reasoning, we should close any successful business in the county, and close the banks in the county too. After all, we do have plenty of bank robberies on the Central Coast, and it’s just too dangerous to have people use banks where the might get hurt when the bank gets robbed.

Banks have been the target of robberies and burglaries at numerous locations within California. Banks create a serious and unnecessary exposure to our citizens who may have the misfortune of being caught up as an innocent bystander during a critical incident stemming from banking institutions. We need to outlaw all banks in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.

As much as I can respect the opinion of someone who has been in law enforcement for 40 years, I do suspect that they have a certain amount of “baggage” connected to legal cannabis use. No doubt that Mr. Wright probably thinks that no legalization of cannabis would be the best solution, even against the overwhelming statistics that show the “war on drugs” has been a complete failure, with the exception of how much certain law enforcement agencies have been able to enrich their departments through forfeiture due to drug busts and even only “suspected” drug activity.

I also think Mr. Wright is slightly off about the reason that MM shops are targeted for criminal attacks; it really isn’t about the pot, it really is about the cash. If the federal government would change the listing of cannabis from a schedule 1 drug, the banks would be able to do business with the MM shops. As it stands now, because of that status, no bank is going to get involved with the fear of the federal government stepping in taking possession of bank accounts, so no MM shop can take credit or debit cards, they would be foolish to take checks, so cash is the only means of purchasing the products.

As to the location; if it was to be located in a more populated area, the dire warnings about a “criminal element being attracted to the area” would be even more hyperbolic. I think the applicants for the shop have done a pretty good job of proposing the location where it is, centrally located for both SLO and Santa Barbara counties, remote enough to not possibly endanger any nearby residents, but they just need to come up with a really good security operation.

Investing in metal detectors, armed guards with really good training and possibly having a very controlled access something like most gun shops do would certainly help keep the employees safe, and take away as much of the possibility of a “crime of opportunity” from happening as possible.

Let’s all keep the reminder of the criminal element profiting from cannabis operations in mind when we in California vote again on the legalization of cannabis for recreational use; just about every statistic available from Oregon, Washington state and Colorado shows that crime related to cannabis has gone down after legalization took effect; it’s time for California to be more adult about a plant that grows so easily that its’ nickname is “weed” …

great call on calling out the financial rewards these Dicks receive that enrich themselves by having everything under the sun be illegal, particularly drugs. Just last Monday night Sheriff Ian Parkinson was bragging how asset forfeitures has funded many purchases in his department. I thought to myself what a second hand thief. Dont allow the Dicks of the world to steal from enterprising individuals.

i started reading and thought to myself hey Dick must be a current or former law enforcement official – the article runs deep with a brainwash and fear mongering mentality meant to scare folks into being afraid so that guys like Dick can have a job. Vote no on fear mongering Dicks.

Dick…you’re wrong. The time has come to rethink our prohibition laws. Alcohol is SO much more dangerous, injurious, deadly, and damaging that pot could ever be.

We need to control and regulate it’s use. Sadly, it’s the future.

Pot shop in Nipomo…??

Heck my kids tell me its easier to buy Pot at Morro Bay high school than sugary drinks and snacks.

All the fake outrage is funny to watch when the kids can get a contact high from a High School bathroom and everyone just looks the other way.

I suspect a marijuana dispensary poses no more risks to a community than a pharmacy, liquor store or a bar.

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