RAND Pot Dispensary Crime Study Retracted

The RAND Corporation has nixed its recent study indicating that closing medical marijuana dispensaries leads to increased local crime rates. 

The study published last month, “Regulating Medical Marijuana Dispensaries,” suggested that Los Angeles regulations mandating a large-scale closing of dispensaries correlated with a 59 percent spike in crime rates in the immediate vicinity of closed dispensaries. Researchers at the Cold War-era think tank, however, used crime data from a site that only included statistics from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, not the Los Angeles Police Department. 

Opponents of the report also objected that the study did not attempt to establish how many dispensaries had actually closed down, as opposed to merely receiving a shutdown order. 

I noted when the study came out that while the connection between commercial real estate vacancies and crime made intuitive sense – because the area affected by the government-mandated business closing would be losing security personnel, lights, cameras, foot traffic and other accoutrements of functioning retail business – the popular notion that vacant properties lead to crime has been pretty solidly refuted in the foreclosure boom, where an explosion of residential vacancies has been accompanied by decreasing crime rates. 

In any event, dispensary opponents – including local law enforcement officials, the Los Angeles Times, the city attorney’s office and local politicians – have lost no time in bogarting the retraction. A Desert Sun story published when the data problems first surfaced called the original study “an eyebrow-raising report that found no link between medical marijuana dispensaries and more crime.” In fact, the study raised eyebrows because it suggested a negative correlation between marijuana dispensaries and crime. (There was, and is, not a shred of evidence indicating that dispensaries lead to higher crime rates.) The L.A. Times’ John Hoeffel also has a field day with the retraction, not bothering to note that his own hysterical anti-dispensary reporting was cited 21 times in the original study's 25 pages.  

Local pols have no incentive to support dispensaries, because thanks to the pious fraud of Prop 215, they are set up as not-for-profits, leaving local governments without opportunities to wet their beaks. But I really cannot emphasize enough how poor the retail environment is in Los Angeles County. Here’s a picture taken around the corner from my residence, showing a scene that is extremely common: a dispensary up and running next door to a vacant commercial real estate property. Leave aside the crime issue. If anybody can explain how shutting down the functioning business in this picture will lead to the greater glory of L.A., please (no pun intended) pipe up: 

RAND says it intends to redo the report with the LAPD data. 

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  • ||

    The major objection now being "actually closed", tomorrow's will be "small sample size" when it is learned that many of them are now ineligible to be studied under the new terms. I suppose this is possible, but this looks like prior restraint.

  • ||

    Epi stalks rather in a sockpuppet extravaganza!

  • Apatheist||

    Take 2 seconds to scroll over Epi's name and you'd realize that it was rather was talking to herself.

  • Apatheist||

    With three different names in fact. Quite a disturbed individual.

  • rather||

    Are you stupid on purpose, or did your mother drop you on your head?

  • rather||

    Tim, you just told epi where you live-get out of the house!

  • Episiarch||

    Tim, you just told rather where you live-get out of the house!


  • rather||

    shut up you dumbass

  • Episiarch||


  • rather||


  • Episiarch||


  • rather||


  • Innocent Bystander||


  • Episiarch||

    Rectal fails at sockpuppeting.

  • rather||

    It's not me, I always tell people when I use different handles.

  • Episiarch||


  • rather||


  • Episiarch||


  • rather||


  • Episiarch||


  • Random Lurker||


  • RANDian anti-EpiRather||

    The RAND Corporation has nixed its recent study

    I am so confused.

  • sevo||

    "Rectal fails at sockpuppeting."

    /no vermin shit.
    That's all.

  • rather||

    Every comment was Norman epi Bates but this one
    Tim, you just told epi where you live-get out of the house!

    Sevo, you're a dumbass

  • Mr. FIFY||

    This? Happening under Obama's watch?

    I am amaze.

  • ||

    You live on melrose? WTF how can you stand those people?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Daphe Zuniga is pretty hawt.

  • Wide Indention||

    A poorly-done observational study? And it was rescinded? Obviously we aren't talking about studying connections between diet and heart disease.

  • cynical||


    You can all stop worrying, now.

  • ||

    Dude, no way man, I never even thought about it liek that.


  • zhangbin||

    The events is quite serious, the hope can very good treatment.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    So far, this is the worst comment thread I've ever seen on Hit & Run.

    Well, I'm interested in what the results will be when the numbers are re-crunched.

  • ||

    It'll still be the worst thread.

  • Warty||

    Rectal is trying really hard and failing really badly, so the thread has some minimal humor value. Still probably the worst thread.

  • ||

    Well, obviously there's more crime where the dispensaries are. I keep hearing about gangs of heavily-armed thugs in black with "DEA" across the back of their jackets, storming into them and robbing anyone they find there.


  • ||

    What does Reason have against Facebook sharing? It's possible to "like" an article, but not to share it properly, though sharing allows for more control over how the description appears on the users FB page.

  • /varepsilon||

    Given that the data are geographically referenced, running an OLS regression (even with the new data) will ignore any spatial correlation and likely bias the results.

  • ||

    "Stay tuned to learn whether the LAPD will provide cooked numbers to RAND to ensure their next study gets police-approved results."


  • ||

    The RAND Pot Dispensary Crime Study was Retracted due to Political Pressure from Big Pharmaceutical Companies not because of a faulty study!
    If the RAND Pot Dispensary Crime Study was allowed to stay it would have created problems for many Judges and Politicians who like to claim that Medical Marijuana creates crime which allows the Politician or Judge to issue a ruling or create a regulation that keeps Medical Marijuana in a complete grey area legally with no structure so that society stay ignorant of its medical benefits!!! we won't gain knowledge as a society this way!!

    Do you believe what the LA City Attorney was telling you in June 2010 or now in 2011?

    Most everyone has heard about the RAND study were there was a correlation between an increase in crime around areas where Medical Marijuana Dispensaries had been ordered to close in Los Angeles during June 2010. Most don't understand that now the LA City Attorneys office is back pedaling on their statements from June 2010. JUST NOW IN 2011 LA City's Attorney Jane Ushner was informing the people of LA that many of the Medical Marijuana Dispensaries remained open back in June 2010!!!

    BUT in June 2010 when LA's new Medical Marijuana Ordinance went effective and over 400 shops were ordered to close CAN you recall what the LA City Attorneys office told the people of LA?
    DO you want to know what the LA City Attorney was telling the public back around June 2010 after over 400 letters went out?

    Lets first analyze NPR a fairly middle of the road slightly liberal media outlet

    NPR makes the declarative statement to the readers
    "Police officers will begin closing down 400 unregistered dispensaries now operating illegally."
    Immediately followed by a direct quote from Asha Greenberg LA Assistant City Attorney

    "The sky isn't going to fall down," says Asha Greenberg, assistant city attorney. "LAPD isn't going to go around kicking down doors, etc. Initially we're going to be doing information gathering."
    Greenberg says L.A.'s new ordinance makes it a misdemeanor to run a dispensary without city approval.
    "Anyone who is operating a medical marijuana establishment, who is violating the city's ordinance is subject to arrest," Greenberg says.
    The people of LA want to know did any of the things Asha Greenberg said actually occurred?
    Was anyone arrested ?
    ---> Apparently Asha Greenberg says "we're going to be doing information gathering."

  • ||

    Here is another article from Fox News a right wing medial outlet
    "We will have a limited number of medical marijuana establishments that are not close to sensitive sites and are not neighborhood nuisances," she said

    Greenberg said that 439 shops had been ordered to close. Any remaining open after Monday face law enforcement actions.

    "As of today they should have their boxes packed and their closed sign up," she said.
    Did any of this occur or not? The people of LA deserve to know!!
    It is time for the City Attorney to answer questions and be responsible for its actions. The LA City Attorney is either withholding information in regards to how many Medical Marijuana Dispensaries were open back in June 2010, or they made a false statement and took no action concerning the information gathering back in 2010.

    Why is the LA City Attorney now making statements contrary to what it issued back in June 2010 for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries having shutdown and their "closed sign up"


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