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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Violent Crimes Associated With Medical Marijuana

The late Jimmy Wheeler, a medical marijuana patient in Washington, created this artwork. Now a proposed patient protection bill will be named in his honor..

There is an idea floating around that Marijuana is a harmless drug that escapes the violent world that is associated with other drugs. When people think of Marijuana, they hardly think of guns, murder, and robbery; sadly, those three things all play a part in the billion dollar marijuana industry. Washington's medical marijuana advocates and law officials are claiming that the violent crimes associated with medical marijuana in the last week are unprecedented. Marijuana is a valuable commodity that people will try and exploit if they see an opportunity to score. Marijuana lives in a gray area within state laws, people think that growers will not call the police if they get robbed even though they are producing an illegal substance. That being the case, growers will fight to the death to protect their crop as is seen in the case of a man in Orting, Wash., near Tacoma, who "died after he reportedly was beaten while confronting people trying to steal marijuana plants from his property", according to the New York Times. On Monday, a man was shot while trying to rob a prominent medical-marijuana activist near Seattle. People are starting to wonder if this kind of violence will only get worse.

Steve Sarich, who runs a group called CannaCare out of his house in the Seattle area, shot one of the five individuals who attempted to rob his home on Monday while also being peppered himself by shotgun fire himself. Police arrested the five the very next day on robbery charges in connection with the shooting. The New York Times reports that, "In both cases, the victims appear to have been chosen because they were known to have relatively large amounts of marijuana in their homes. They say the crimes underscore conflicts in state policy that have become evident since Washington legalized medical marijuana in 1998". Sarich has been demanding that law officials protect the legal growers of medical marijuana; however, many growers are not following the law and growing much more than the allotted amount. Sarich himself had 385 plants in his house after the shooting on Monday; they were authorized to have 50 plants.

Why would the police protect the rights of people who are breaking the law? Sure, there is no reason why people should be robbed, but, how can growers expect to be protected if they break the law - a law that is murky to say the least.

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