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Pot Shop Owner Wants to Keep Porn Shop From Moving in Next Door

Do adult businesses lead to an increase in crime in nearby neighborhoods? One local pot shop owner thinks so. Vote in our poll and tell us what you think.

There is a strong movement currently underway at Los Angeles City Hall to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

One of the arguments in favor of the ban is the belief by some in law enforcement and government that pot shops lead to an increase in crime. The Los Angeles Police Department Devonshire Division said an increase in crime near the shops was a major reason it systematically eliminated all pot shops from the entire district over the last three years.

Given these recent headlines, an email to Studio City Patch Editor Mike Szymanski sent this week from the owner of Perennial Holistic Wellness Center, Inc., a medical marijuana dispensary on Ventura Boulevard that offers valet parking, was a little surprising. (Szymanski is out of town this weekend so I am filling in for him.) 

The email from Sam Humeid expresses his opposition to an adult video rental shop moving into the same strip mall his pot shop occupies. The reason? Porn shops lead to more crime, he believes.

Read on...

Mike,

Tonight, February 17, 2012, the Red Hot Video Store (now closed) was vandalized by a local homeless man with, as the police put it, "a history of local trouble and mental illness."  At approximately 7PM a patient and our valet attendant witnessed a man throw a softball sized rock through the Colfax Ave window of the Red Hot Video, he crossed Colfax, grabbed another softball sized rock and proceeded to head Westbound on Ventura Blvd.  I called 911, and our patient and valet attendant assisted the police in locating and identifying the suspect.  The suspect is currently in custody pending further investigation.

On a side note, I found out that a mega adult video store is planning on moving into the complex because of the CUP that is attached [to the] property.  In researching crime issues related to adult businesses, I found that crime, especially sexually related crimes increase dramatically around such stores. Tonight's incident and the first sexual assult in Studio City in many years, last year near the Shell on Ventura Place is more proof positive that an adult book store is not the right thing for this community.  Maybe a community poll on your site about another porn shop could be interesting news.

Considering the increased pressure pot shop owners are under recently from the city and law enforcement, it is a little surprising to hear a pot shop owner use the same crime argument that is used against his industry and aim it at another. But fortune favors the bold, as they say.

Well, Patch readers, what do you think? Do you think porn shops cause more crime? Vote in the poll below.

Here are a couple things to consider before you vote:

  • Patch has not verified the details of the alleged crime at the former location of Red Hot Video, which specialized in pornography
  • There is no consensus on the theory that pot shops lead to an increase in crime. While the LAPD Devonshire Division said it found this to be true, some officers in the North Hollywood Division, including the senior lead officers of the Studio City and Toluca Lake areas, said they have not seen any increase. Last year, the RAND Corp. undertook what it said was the first scientific study of the issue and released a report saying that crime actually fell in neighborhoods around pot shops. But the study was widely criticized, and RAND actually retracted the study and said it had not analyzed all the pertinent data.
  • The sexual assault near Ventura Boulevard referred to in the letter was reported last July, and was one of the more horrific crimes reported in the Studio City area in 2011. No arrests have been made and no suspects have been named. There is no evidence the LAPD has made public to suggest the alleged rapist was in the neighborhood because of a porn video shop.
  • The porn industry, which is centrally located in the San Fernando Valley, generates an estimated $14 billion in revenue a year, according to various news sources. The industry generates millions of dollars in tax revenue for Los Angeles and the state of California.
  • In regard to pornography leading to more sex crimes, quite a few recent studies have shown that increased access to pornography actually can reduce the rate of sexual crimes. See these following stories:

Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review
Proof that Internet porn prevents rape. - Slate Magazine
Legalizing Pornography: Lower Sex Crime Rates? Study Carried out in Czech Republic Shows Results Similar to Those in Japan and Denmark

  • While the above studies show that a country or state having increased access to porn can lead to a reduction in sexual crimes, many studies show the neighborhood around the adult business can see an increase in sex crimes and other crimes. These are called "secondary effects." There are also many studies that show the "secondary effect" theory is flawed. However, the United States Supreme Court agrees with the assumption that the "secondary effects" of crime are real, and has ruled so repeatedly, which is what allows city and local governments to zone and limit the location of adult-oriented businesses. Such was the case in the City of Renton v Playtime Theatres (1986). 

So, Patch readers, what do you think? Vote in the poll below.

TL February 19, 2012 at 04:38 AM
No more porn stores on Ventura and Colfax!! We were lucky enough to lose the Red Hot Video porn store. Let's not alow another to come in! Very Concerned, Studio City - Colfax Meadow property owner.
John J. Nazarian February 19, 2012 at 06:14 AM
Porn Shops are just fine, and they seem to take the matter in hand and move forward!
Yami February 19, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Hydroponics shops. Ya, you might as well bring in these cleverly disguised indoor house cultivating plant stores, that we know are for lowlife POT ppl.
Beth February 19, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I'm appalled at the assumption that pot people are low life's and that porn shops cause sex crimes. Crimes will exist with or without these establishments. While these establishments are surely unpleasant to look at while driving down Ventura Blvd., I'm guessing the the patron of a medical marijuana store is likely at home dealing with his or her pain or health issues, or just too high to conduct a crime, and a patron of a porn shop is likely at home viewing his pornography instead of conducting sex crimes. Just a hunch.
John J. Nazarian February 20, 2012 at 04:21 AM
As far as I am concerned they can give this stuff away....it is all a big farce as to the 'medical marijuana' cards....how many high school kids have them? As well as young adults, a total joke and it is for that reason the cops and feds are pitching a bitch! Simple! John J. Nazarian, P.I.

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