In 1996, when voters approved Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative, most Californians did not envision what's playing out in Arcata.
As The Bee's Peter Hecht reported recently, this Humboldt County town has become the legal pot capital of the country. Hundreds of medical marijuana growers supply dozens of cooperatives that dispense the drug. It has become the financial mainstay of a community where logging and fishing once dominated.
Voters did not expect to open the door for "pot docs." These are physicians who charge as much as $250 per evaluation before handing over a recommendation that allows a patient to grow and use pot legally. While some patients are sick and use pot to relieve suffering, clearly others are seeking a legal way to get stoned.
Voters did not anticipate the rise of medical marijuana grow houses and with them home invasion robberies. A Sacramento man was killed, two others shot and three houses invaded last October.
The one common element in the local crime spree – large amounts of medical marijuana present in the homes.
Alarmed by the proliferation of pot dispensaries, various city councils, including Sacramento's, have slapped moratoriums on new establishments while they seek to sort our new rules for these problematic enterprises. West Sacramento moved this week to set up guidelines and keep pot dispensaries out of residential neighborhoods and away from schools.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.