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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Closed Marijuana Dispensaries Encourage Crime, Study Says

A new study tries to prove that medical marijuana dispensaries don't promote crime in Los Angeles.

According to a study by the RAND Corp., crime rates increase in Los Angeles neighborhoods where medical marijuana dispensaries are shut down in comparison to where they are allowed to stay open.

The study was conducted during the 10 days before and after a city ordinance shut down more than 400 dispensaries on June 7, 2010. These dispensaries were shut down because they were reportedly connected to crime.

The RAND study shows that areas near closed dispensaries had relatively flat crime rates while crime rates in areas with open dispensaries actually decreased. The study also found that there is 60 percent more crime reports within three blocks of a closed dispensary compared to an open dispensary.

But local law enforcement officials quickly dismissed and criticized the RAND results.

Detective Robert Holcomb of the LAPD's Narcotics Enforcement Detail told the Daily News that in fact dispensaries "are a center of crime." He continued, "Look at it from a criminal standpoint: Here is a location that you know contains narcotics, money so what better location to rob?"

"The study is the polar opposite of a scientific and measured response to verified data," Frank Mateljan, the spokesman for the City Attorneys Office told the Daily News. He calls the data "faulty and "irelevant" with "incompelte results" and "unreliable" conclusions.



Marijuana Dispensaries Forced to Close

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