Correction: Our good buddy Nathan Burgess over at the Stowe Reporter informed us that Rutland was apparently not the first city to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries. Stowe passed a prohibition in June.
Rutland has apparently become the first municipality in Vermont to officially prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries within its borders.
The Rutland Herald's Gordon Dritschilo reports that Rutland's board of aldermen on Monday voted unanimously — and without debate — to pass an ordinance banning medical pot facilities from setting up shop within city limits. A state law passed in 2011 permits four state-sanctioned dispensaries in Vermont; to date, the state has approved two, one in Burlington and the other in Waterbury.
The story notes that, "Registered medical marijuana patients will still be able to grow their own or have a designated caregiver do so. They will also be able to become members at dispensaries that open in other communities."
What are city poo-bahs so worried about, anyway? That Rutland will become the, um, Las Vegas of Vermont? As Dritschilo reports:
In the committee hearing last week, the aldermen heard from Police Chief James Baker that such dispensaries had become crime magnets in other states.
That's a well-worn argument among law enforcement types but is it true? Debatable. There have certainly been some high-profile murders resulting from attempted robberies of marijuana dispensaries — notably in Hollywood in 2010. But a more recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health casts doubt on the dispensary-as-crime-magnet theory. A study of California dispensaries published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found no overall increase in crime around dispensaries.