July 02, 2018, San Diego
San Diego Police Department misled the city administration last year regarding the landscape of local cannabis industry and crimes associated with it. In March 2017, San Diego police chief, Shelly Zimmerman, presented a misleading data in the city council to dissuade the members for allowing the expansion of cannabis business.
The council members were meeting to discuss a robust supply chain for the local industry through more growers, manufacturers, and research facilities. Zimmerman was also summoned in the meeting to brief the council on law enforcement implications of the proposal.
She urged the council members to hold the expansion because of the negative consequences of already legalized operations. She quoted more than 250 radio calls for law enforcement services at MMJ dispensaries for robberies, shootings, and assaults to back her proposition. She further maintained that cannabis businesses were detrimental to the security of respective neighborhoods.
Cannabis Activists has Exposed the Sloppy Claims of Zimmerman
Chairman of Americans for Safe Access San Diego Chapter (Terrie Best) was also present in the meeting along with other cannabis activists. She was not convinced of the claims made by the then police chief. According to her, they have been monitoring crime situation in and around the dispensaries themselves.
Best on the behalf of ASA submitted an application under California Public Records Act to authenticate the data presented by Zimmerman. ASA also got some retired police officials on board to analyze the data.
Zimmerman’s Presentation was Deceitful
ASA and former law enforcement officials have concluded that the Zimmerman’s presentation in the council was not driven by the facts, but person vendetta against cannabis. For instance, one-fourth of the calls cited by Zimmerman was not actually related to dispensaries at all. These calls were made from adjacent establishments and the businesses sharing the same street address.
Moreover, a lot of calls made from the dispensaries were not linked to any criminal activity. For instance, one call was made for the assistance of an elderly lady who had fallen in the parking lot of the building in which a medical marijuana industry was located along with many other businesses.
Similarly, another call for police service was made for a recklessly driven truck from the block where an MMJ dispensary was also located. This call was also part of the data presented by Zimmerman.
Even though Zimmerman’s ‘scare tactic’ didn’t work on the majority of council members and they voted 6-3 to approve 40 more licenses for marijuana businesses, but Zimmerman actions demonstrated how SPSD was attempting to undercut Proposition 64.
Besides that, Zimmerman’s misleading statistics have also been used by law enforcement officials outside San Diego County to highlight the unwanted implications of expanding cannabis operations. After Zimmerman’s dishonest report has been unfolded by ASA, local media contacted the former police chief for her comments. She refused to talk on the issue. It is not clear yet whether local cannabis activist will commence any legal proceedings against Zimmerman.