Crime and Punishment Medical Marijuana

One of Pot Dispensary Workers Killed, Son of LA Labor Leader, Julie Butcher


Andrew Blankstein and David Zahniser report for the LAT:

‘No reason for anyone to die over marijuana,’ mother of slain pot dispensary worker says

A medical marijuana dispensary employee killed Thursday during a robbery at the Echo Park store is the son of a well-known L.A. labor leader, Julie Butcher.

Matt Butcher’s mother described the killing as “totally senseless,” saying her son was simply trying to cobble together part-time jobs in a tough economy.

“He was one of the most peaceful people,” said Julie Butcher, who works as a regional director of the Service Employees International Union Local 721. “He would have given them anything they wanted. There’s no reason for anyone to die over marijuana.”

Butcher, 27, was one of two pot dispensary workers killed Thursday.

More here.

Freaking legalize it. Regulate it. Tax it.


  • Some of these locations keep way too much pot and cash on hand. Don’t know if that’s why these specific locations were hit, and the deaths are a sad reality that’s been seen in this type of business more than once.

  • The hippies, stoners, and weed people need to hire non-weed smokers to man the stores, you know, those tactical, wingnut types. Not “one of the most peaceful people” – sorry mom, he was a sitting duck.

    I’d do it for fun, vested and strapped.

    You ever been to a gun store (except Turner’s which gets robbed frequently because the employees aren’t allowed to carry)? Only an idiot would even think of messing with a gun store. You’ve got numerous guys with guns on their hips, and you know they’ve got more training and better guns than the crooks. These are the guys they need to hire to work at the weed store. Lots of the young guys work at gun stores for peanuts – they’d be stoked to make some good weed money.

    In my opinion, anyone who works ANY retail unarmed is a fool, let alone a business with massive amounts of cash and drugs on hand.

  • Legalizing marijuana has nothing to do with these robberies, liquor is legal and liquor stores are frequently robbed.

  • This is terrible and senseless loss of life- but it’s focused the city on the chaotic situation concerning the medical cannabis shops. Two similar killings in one day, who knows what next.

    The ordinance ordering L A dispensaries to close restricts them from re-opening within 1000 ft. of “sensitive uses,” which is broadly defined as schools etc., also residential, meaning 95% of L A is off-limits by the council’s own estimate. The timing of June 1st deadline to close, which many have ignored or are fighting legally, seems to coincide with Cooley’s run for AG, which hinged on persuading conservative Republicans that despite accusations he’s “soft on crime” re: his 3 Strikes take, he’s really, really tough on pot patients. So many shops apparently haven’t closed on schedule and are left to fend for themselves, apparently not considered deserving of police protection, and in legal limbo. Trutanich/ Usher’s interpretation is that since all exchange of money for weed is illegal (as are credit cards or checks, any currency), if dispensaries were following the law as they see it, they would have no cash on hand to rob. Just brilliant.

  • BTW as other blogs are pointing out, L A’s ordinance regulating the med 420 shops forbids security guards from carrying either guns or tasers – thanks to the provisions imposed on them by NRA-supporting and supported, Trutanich. So they’ve long complained they’re sitting ducks – and now, they’re totally exposed to the violent drug cartels who are presumed to be behind these robberies/ killings.

    Other cities in CA which have successfully managed their med 420 shops not only allow security guards to have firearms but require armed guards under carefully supervised conditions, and with permits and training – which takes the burden off the city and its police force, as well. Such places look and feel like professional med clinics-cum-therapy centers, serving the clientelle the law is intended to.

    The model which seems to have worked best is fewer, but more comprehensive shops (some of which also offer alternative therapies like chiropractors, acupuncture, yoga and massage in spic-n-span facilities), with an armed guard in the lobby. They’re also supposed to take their cash to secure locations daily (under safety of their armed guards), lock their pot every night in vaults. These little store-fronts with nothing but a pane of glass protecting them from the street, and lots of weed and cash while not allowed to protect themselves, are maybe just not a viable option for a city like L A.

  • I’m like a psychic, thread is about these murders in this type industry and SBL manages to throw in some Cooley bashing, so predictable.

    The medical marijuana industry is corrupt to the core.

  • Well SF, I could blame “that Chicago thug Obama” for this like everything else as you do, but credit/blame where it belongs is more my forte.

  • Like you thought I’d be against civilian oversight for the military right? Straightened you out there, which of course you didn’t respond to. If you’d like to count up my mentions about our thug president, or placing blame on him for something as comapred to you mentioning Cooley in the same type manner feel free to try and make your non-existent point.

  • RE: Sure Fire’s link,

    Josylyn Johnson is being used by the anti immigration lobby. She’s distraught over her husband, understandably so. But if she were a rational thinker she’d know that the percentage of people that have been in violent confrontations with police officers and who are illegal immigrants is very small. It was just a coincidence. But of course she’s being exploited by right wing political interests at a time of weakness and confusion in her life, so I don’t blame her per se. As far as Obama appointing the former Houston Police Chief that she’s suing, I praise Obama for using his head and not his emotions. That’s what strong leaders were elected to do.

  • “thug president”

    Classic case of projection.

    Resentment and self-pity are motherfuckers to live with. Good luck.

  • The arrogance of the left sprouts up as usual. You guys always no better than anyone else, what a crock. What do you know about Joslyn Johnson that makes you on authority on weather she’s a rational thinker Rocky? Because you have a different viewpoint she’s not rational?

    Anyone who thinks like you that the… “the percentage of people that have been in violent confrontations with police officers and who are illegal immigrants is very small”, should know that percentage right off the top of their head so tell me what it is. Back that point up with some facts. When you’re done with that describe what a “violent confrontation” means because I’ve been in plenty of them but the way you sound if I didn’t die or get seriously hurt, it wasn’t violent enough.

    Did you even read the whole story I linked to Rocky? How doesn’t she sound rational? She’s not looking for monetary damages but thinks the mindset that was a contributing factor in her husband’s death should be changed so she sued and that bothers a deep thinker like you right? Why, what makes the safety of all citizens secondary to you obviously being ok with releasing this guy instead of notifying ice after…”The gunman who killed Johnson’s husband had already been deported once, returned and then arrested at least three times before he shot the officer”. Yet you think Johnson isn’t being rational?

    Below is a copy of a letter she wrote, sounds really over the edge doesn’t she? The arrogance of people like you and the board reprobate makes me ill.

    By Joslyn Johnson

    As the widow of slain Senior Police Officer Rodney Joseph Johnson and a member of the HPD blue team, I would like to personally express my gratitude to each and every one of you for having supported my family during this extremely emotional and painful time in our lives. Words cannot express how deeply everyone is appreciated.

    I would also like to send a special thanks to Gary Blankinship, Krystal Blankinship-Larue and the HPOU board for their unwavering kindness toward my family during this difficult time.

    As many are well aware, I am attempting to accomplish a feat that has not been within the department’s grasp in recent years. I am requesting the city to impose mandatory two-man patrol units regardless of assignment.

    Officer Safety is first and foremost in my mind and I would like to hopefully prevent other officers from enduring the pain and heartache that I’ve endured. There are many husband-wife couples on our department. If the two-man unit patrols can prevent just one death, then I’ll have done my job. The city states that it’s not budgetarily practical nor is it feasible and that there will be no one to run calls if this goes into effect.

    I am in total disagreement with the current policy and would like it effectively changed immediately.

    Again, thank you all for your unfailing support.

    Joslyn Johnson

    Hey Celeste, told you Reg wouldn’t be able to keep filth out of here if he posted again. Your wish was not granted.

  • Reg, I agree. The term “thug president” is not only resentful, it reeks of racism, since the word “thug” is rarely used anymore to describe anything but black people. The thing is, Obama has disappointed me on a lot of levels. And it would be nice to see a viable opposition on the leader board to debate him in 2012. But as it stands, Obama’s opposition party has been hijacked by extremists who’ve even threatened to take terrorist measures to regain control of what they perceive as their country. We have no choice but to vote for Obama again, because he’ll undoubtedly be the only sane candidate on the ballot.

  • Mrs Salazar,
    Do you have any statistics for the number of officers involved in the “small problem” of shootings with illegal aliens who survived their encounter?

  • Police have it pretty good here in America. The odds of a police officer getting killed in the line of duty in America are practically non existent, which only further demonstrates how unlikely it is for a cop to be killed by an illegal immigrant. For the vast majority of officers, it’s just not going to happen. Cops are paid very well, even in this bad economy where everyone else is forced to cut back. They have pensions and medical benefits. They’re living the dream life. If I were a cop, I’d spend a little more time focusing on what I do have as opposed to entertaining paranoid thoughts of La Raza operatives, who are part of a marxist network ruled by the same Kenyan overlords who control Comrade Obama, sneaking across the border to assassinate me.

  • 81.Sure Fire Says:
    June 6th, 2010 at 12:21 pm
    No way Reg will abide by those standards Celeste. I mean just look at the last word in his first post, no need for it but the fact is Reg can’t be civil for more than a few sentences.

    82.Celeste Fremon Says:
    June 6th, 2010 at 12:29 pm
    Well, reg, I challenge you to prove Sure Fire wrong.

    So in your mind Reg was civil and the filth was needed, no other word would do? Reg has no class, that’s the bottom line.

    You could never be a cop Rocky; I could tell that just in the two posts you wrote. I’ve sat on enough entry level oral boards and you’re not the kind of guy that would pass one. You didn’t provide any stats so I guess you don’t have them.

    Thug is pretty much used only to describe Black people? You should look up some of my old posts; it describes all types of people to me. That you would even post that speaks to your own racist nature and view of Blacks, not mine.

    Obama is a Chicago style Thug Politician, just like I’ve said for a long time. I’m from Chicago and still have relatives back there, went back two of the last threes summers. I’ve read everything I could get my hands on regarding Obama and I’m confident in my description.

    Cops, by the way, have taken pay and benefit reductions over the past two years same as others, along with losing officers to attrition and retirement that haven’t been replaced. You talking about cops is like Reg talking about anger management, doesn’t hold water.

    Reg-Lite is about all I see in you.

  • “Resentment and self-pity are motherfuckers to live with”
    Reg is using his strong emotions to become the center of attention again. That wasn’t funny Reg, so please stop. That was a mean thing to say and was not cool. What purpose did it serve to say that Reg? It sounded like an insult.

    Bullies are usually not looking for a fight SF; they are just looking for someone who will give in and back down. This is why there is no such thing as a self-made bully Celeste. Bullies are made by other people who, when pushed around or threatened, are willing to act intimidated. So, keep on keeping on, SF!

  • I’m quite certain that if the likes of Johannes Mehserle could pass an exam to become a police officer, anyone could.

  • People who use the internet to vent like Reg does are pitiful. That Celeste excuses it is bewildering.

    Take the exam, all parts, and tell me if you even make it to the background Rocky. Talk is cheap.

  • I don’t think the exams are taken seriously. I think they pass officers who’ve really failed. They describe the tests as being super difficult, where only a Harvard grad would pass, so that they can point to it whenever there’s a scandal and say, “we screen our officers. Not our fault”. I don’t buy it. If you want to be a cop, you’re a cop. The behavior of so many unruly cops today speaks much volumes over the supposed requirements to become a police officer.

  • My only regret is that I wasn’t the cop who beat Robbie’s ass and turned him into the cop hating bigot jellyfish he now is. Or maybe I was?


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