Attempts by the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to make a point about California-legal medical-marijuana dispensaries went horribly wrong earlier this month, when the office’s official “Pushing Back” blog published a Google Maps mash-up supplying the public with a map of downtown San Francisco’s marijuana dispensaries.
The mash-up was originally built to make a point -- San Francisco is so saturated by medical-marijuana dispensaries that they exceed the number of Starbucks coffee shops in the city’s downtown area.
Both San Francisco city officials and the San Francisco Chronicle are questioning the federal governments sources, however. One city official told City Insider that the data presented was “extremely incorrect.”
“I don’t know how they got that,” he added.
According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, there are only 24 dispensaries in San Francisco in possession of the necessary permits, or trying to apply for them.
Even the ONDCP’s assessment of Starbucks locations is incorrect, said Starbucks spokeswoman Vivian Doan. The map should have listed 71 locations, when it instead listed 66.
In a follow-up post, the ONDCP implies that it gathered its data from publicly-available search engine listings. “It's hard to be exact,” reads the post, “but based on publicly available info on search engines, we believe that there are more listings for pot dispensaries in SF than there are Starbucks.”
The post, authored by ONDCP spokesman Rafeal Lamaitre, then acknowledges statistics from the SF Department of Public Health, before noting that the number of “registered pot clubs” in San Francisco still exceeds the number of Taco Bells (18), Middle Schools (14), and district police stations (14).
“Simple Google searches will find far more pot establishments in the San Francisco area. Some of these even offer delivery services,” the post reads, including a link to one such service.
The original version of the mashup listed a total of 98 dispensaries. When questioned about the source of its data, the ONDCP provided a list of 74 dispensaries and revised its map to show 71. Officials say the removed entries consisted of “alternative-medicine-type” shops whose marijuana offerings could not be confirmed.
Wired’s Threat Level notes that ONDCP was previously caught producing fake news broadcasts in 2005.
quote: As far as marijuana, as much as I am against it, I see it being legalized some day.
quote: This is the party that's supposed to be against the government involvement in our lives
quote: They also support big deficit spending
quote: corporate tax breaks ("trickle down")
quote: trade incentives
quote: and large military budgets
quote: As far as gay marriage, its been between a man and a women since time began.
quote: If I refuse to have children, I am denied the writeoff of a dependent. If I refuse to buy a hybrid car, I am denied the tax credit for such. No difference in either case. The State chooses to reward certain behaviors. Gay couples are not being punished in any way -- they're simply not receiving the reward that a traditional couple does.
quote: a traditional marriage formalizes a union where both partners are capable not only of procreation, but of raising their biological offspring in a two-parent household
quote: Now one can certainly argue that a couple without children shouldn't receive the benefit either. However, statistics tells us that most couples presently without children will eventually have them. Even should they be sterile, future medical advances may well change that.
quote: Now you're just being silly. Current law is based around the fact that the vast majority of married couples eventually have children. Every single one? No, but 95% or more do.
quote: What percentage of gay couples currently conceive and rear their children? Zero. Zip. Zilch. None whatsoever.
quote: Could be. It's also entirely irrelevant. Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation not to free slaves at all, but simply impair the South's ability to wage war, and to belp the North win. Does that magically make the law itself wrong?
quote: Alcohol is not physically addicting as many drugs are
quote: corporate tax breaks ("trickle down")
quote: What about the research that states that it increases paranoia and incidences of mental illness in some people? I knew people at college who started out really fine, normal people, who smoked loads of it and became freakishly paranoid.
quote: What about the research that states that it increases paranoia and incidences of mental illness in some people?
quote: The fact that when I hypothetically tried it, I vomited then passed out within 2 minutes clearly doesn't make it dangerous either.
quote: I knew people at college who started out really fine, normal people, who smoked loads of it and became freakishly paranoid.
quote: I would hesitate to say this was harmless if regularly taken unless you can cite a medical authority which states this.
quote: so I think the obsession with pot in the US is a bit nuts compared to Europe's stance on it.
quote: Its refreshing to see a US City deploy some moderate common sense in the case of this and gay unions which undermines the commonly held international view that America is ruled by small-minded, right-wing religious nuts like Dubya/Palin. Or used to be, at any rate.
quote: I love it how whenever it comes to drugs, its always "STATES RIGHTS!". But then when it comes to abortion, gay marriage, and a whole bunch of other conservative issues, its always "WE'LL FIGHT THIS IN COURT!".
quote: The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power.