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Monday, March 10, 2014

SFPD Gives Up On Tracking Marijuana Crime

Posted By on Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Who knows?
  • Who knows?

It wasn't long ago that marijuana crime in San Francisco was a serious issue -- so serious that elected officials set up a group, made up mostly of cannabis legalization advocates, to hold police accountable for their actions.

That group, the Marijuana Offenses Oversight Committee, is in the process of being disbanded by the Board of Supervisors, after last receiving statistics from the San Francisco Police Department sometime in 2010.

Not that the cops needed to cough up stats: misdemeanor possession-only marijuana arrests have all but vanished in San Francisco. However, the cops appear to have stopped keeping track of pot themselves.

In 2010, police busted $11.5 million worth of plants in the city. That was also the last time the department last tracked how many grow-houses it busted, a police spokesman told SF Weekly.

It's worth mentioning that the marijuana crimes committee didn't meet very often, and rarely compiled an annual report to present to the Board of Supervisors. Also, the committee was routinely blocked by the police: its chair in 2009, dispensary operator Cathy Smith, told SF Weekly that it had received "jack" from the cops.

That was a different era, of course: that was when police still hauled in a few hundred people a year for misdemeanor marijuana crimes. In 2012 and 2011 combined, the last years for which data is available, police arrested a total of 19 people for misdemeanor pot crimes.

When felonies and misdemeanors are combined, about 300 people a year were arrested for marijuana in San Francisco in 2011 and 2012, according to stats on file with the state Department of Justice, a decrease of about 75 percent.

Some of those felonies, however, are cultivation crimes -- having a big indoor garden can still be a crime. It wasn't long ago that big indoor gardens were a big issue: there were 13,500 plants seized at 55 illegal grows in 2010, journalist Ali Winston reported in KALW at the time.

And now? We don't know, said police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy. The narcotics unit of the SFPD doesn't have enough people to make a count, he told us.


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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Bio:
Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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