Former Police Chief Used Lies and Misleading Stats to Lobby Against Marijuana Legalization

Anti-marijuana advocates are known to occasionally stretch the truth when it comes to the dangers of marijuana. But one former police chief straight out lied when trying to convince the city of San Diego to not legalize cannabis last year.

Former San Diego Chief of Police Shelley Zimmerman lied to the city council last year in testimony she made against expanding the city's marijuana businesses, a new investigation has revealed. Last September, the San Diego city council was considering proposals for cannabis permits when marijuana became legal in California on January 1st, 2018. Zimmerman spoke against expanding the number of marijuana businesses in testimony to the council.

Zimmerman said her department had responded to 272 radio calls at medical marijuana dispensaries that were for “burglaries, robberies, thefts, assaults, and shootings, just to name a few.” She therefore argued that adding more dispensaries would make neighborhoods more safe.

However, it turns out Zimmerman's statistics were highly misleading. A study of police records found that about 25 percent of the calls Zimmerman cited were for incidents at buildings either adjacent to or sharing the same building as a marijuana dispensary but did not involve any cannabis businesses. The study further found that many of the calls were not for major crimes, as Zimmerman noted, but rather minor incidents such as tow truck requests or false alarms from security systems.

While Zimmerman's testimony didn't sway the San Diego City Council, other police authorities in nearby cities have cited her data in their own arguments against expanding marijuana legalization.

Zimmerman retired from the San Diego police in March of this year.

(h/t High Times)


Few other entrepreneurs in the cannabis space have their hands in quite as many ventures as Lorne Gertner. Currently dubbed the "godfather of the Canadian cannabis industry," Gertner told Civilized, "If we could live through normalization, we could change the world." Hailing from the fashion industry, this Toronto native says he's on a mission to "make the world a better place through cannabis and design excellence." The only catch is, well, normalizing cannabis — and that's where Gertner's keen eye for style comes in. "In the old days, you were going to be different or you were going to be normal," said Thom Antonio, Gertner's friend, creative director, and collaborator of 35 years.

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