Marijuana surge concerns Compton coalition
Compton residents are concerned that commercial marijuana sales have brought more guns and gang activity to their community
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Concerned Citizens of Compton urge US attorney general to stop commercializing marijuana
COMPTON — A grassroots and a broad-based coalition of concerned residents and officials came together June 12, 2017, to express concerns following the takeover of their communities by for-profit marijuana businesses.
At an event organized by local leaders and concerned community groups, local officials warned city, state, and national officials about the emergence of a new addictive industry, enabled by marijuana legalization laws, that is putting profit ahead of public health and safety and asked Federal officials to intervene.
“Pot shops are coming into Compton to fund the drug habit of teens from Beverly Hills,” said Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “We cannot incarcerate our way out of the drug problem, but legalizing marijuana isn’t the answer. Despite campaign promises, the reality of legalization is that it is a ‘Trojan Horse’ for profiteers intent on putting their own financial interests ahead above those of the communities they’re supposed to serve.”
Sabet went on to say, underserved communities have already suffered for too long from over-incarceration, health disparities, and crime.
“[Now], they’re being victimized yet again by the emergence of an industry on course to become the next Big Tobacco industry of our time,” he added. “We are proud to stand with these residents to stand up against special interest groups and fight for smarter approaches to marijuana in Compton and across the nation.”
Over the past several years, Compton, a former hub of drug-related crime and violence, has witnessed an explosive growth of for-profit marijuana dispensaries. Residents of Compton have reported that the increase in the number of marijuana businesses in the area have led to a rise in drug-related crime, drug tourism, and increased exposure of marijuana to young people.
Additionally, local residents expressed concerns that commercial marijuana sales have brought more guns and gang activity to their community. Over the past several years, there have been several marijuana-related shootings and killings in Compton. Additionally, marijuana outlets continue to be located near schools.
Evidence demonstrates that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful to the brain, especially when used by adolescents. Moreover, in states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashes and youth marijuana use. States that have legalized marijuana have also failed to shore up state budget shortfalls with marijuana taxes, continue to see a thriving black market, and are experiencing a continued rise in alcohol sales.