* Eric Zorn…
Wednesday, the Chicago City Council banned medical marijuana dispensaries — the city is slated to have 13 — from manufacturing districts and transportation corridors, from areas near parks and forest preserves, and from certain downtown areas.
Even this wasn’t enough to prevent our friends at the Sun-Times from splashing their front page with the alarming headline “Neighborhood joints: New zoning rules mean medical pot spots likely to pop up in busy areas.”
You’d think Illinois was the first state — not the 20th — to OK the medical use of marijuana. You’d think there were no data whatsoever about the impact, if any, of dispensaries in busy or even comparatively idle areas.
But police agencies and academics have looked at just these sorts of concerns over the years. The Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., has collected the results; nearly all of it reaches the same “hey, no big deal” conclusion reached by researchers from the University of South Florida, the University of Colorado and the New York City Criminal Justice Agency when they studied 275 medical marijuana distribution sites.
Despite all the advance warnings, they wrote in a paper published earlier this year, “these centers do not appear to have any impact on the urban landscape and, therefore, on the health of the communities in which they are located.”
The media needs to grow up, already.