The L.A. Times reports on a new RAND Corp study.
Medical marijuana dispensaries â€” with storerooms of high-priced weed, registers brimming with cash and some clientele more interested in getting high than getting well â€” are often seen as magnets for crime, a perception deepened by a few high-profile murders.
But a report from the Rand Corp. reaches a startling conclusion: The opposite appears to be true.
In a study of crime near Los Angeles dispensaries â€” which the investigators call the most rigorous independent examination of its kind â€” the Santa Monica-based think tank found that crime actually increased near hundreds of pot shops after they were required to close last summer.
“What I would take away from it is maybe there should just be a little bit less fear about having dispensaries,” said Mireille Jacobson, a health economist who was the lead researcher. “Hopefully, this injects a little bit of science into the discussion.”
Of course, this should be freakin’ obvious, and certainly not the “startling conclusion” of writer John Hoeffel, despite the limited data used by RAND.
Yes, there are those with an anti-pot agenda who have tried to, without any real evidence, paint pot dispensaries as crime magnets, but nothing supports that, including common sense.
- Dispensaries have significant security, including cameras, that actually add to the safety of their surrounding area.
- People who buy medical marijuana (even people who don’t really need it, are less likely to be violent or combative as those who buy alcohol.
- When there is no dispensary, marijuana sales are controlled by competing criminals on the street – more likely to result in crime.
Of course, it would be even better if you eliminated the tiered system of medical marijuana and simply had pot available for sale like cigarettes, shutting down almost all criminal connections.
Note: There was an earlier AP version of this story yesterday, which appeared to be quickly scrubbed from papers, and I was trying to track down the study to see if it really exists, but now it shows up on the RAND site. Here’s the full report from RAND.