RAND Withdraws Questionable Marijuana Dispensary Study That Claimed Crime Goes Down Around L.A. Pot Shops

When the respected Santa Monica think tank RAND released a study last month claiming that crime went up in neighborhoods where marijuana dispensaries had closed in L.A., it just didn't smell right to us.

We had a litany of problems with the research, first among which was the fact that not even the city really knew which dispensaries had closed. In fact, RAND's look-see at L.A. pot shops might have actually confirmed an increase in dispensary-related crime because said weed retailers in many cases likely still had their doors open.

So now ...

RAND announced that it is pulling the study from its website and from circulation while it is reviewed, RAND spokesman Warren Robak told the Weekly tonight.

"I can just say that a review is ongoing," he said.

A summary of RAND's original findings claimed that they "challenge the common wisdom that marijuana dispensaries promote criminal activity ... "

... When medical marijuana dispensaries close, crime rises in the surrounding neighborhood when compared to areas where dispensaries are allowed to remain open ...

But researchers were looking at a list of dispensaries that were ordered to close under a city law that aimed to pair the number of pot shops in L.A. down to 100 or less. It found that crime near those shops went up after they allegedly closed.

Problem is, many of those pot shops stayed open.

City Attorney's spokesman Frank Mateljan told the Daily News at the time that the study was "highly suspect and unreliable ... "

We also noted, among other qualms with the study, that researchers claimed to have looked at pot shops in Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills has no pot shops.

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]


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