Santa Monica, CA: The RAND Corporation has removed a study from its website that found that a city-mandated closure of medical marijuana dispensaries in 2010 was associated with increased incidences of criminal activity.
RAND’s decision to shelve the study appears to have been motivated by criticism levied at the institute by Los Angeles city attorney’s office, which had previously argued that medical cannabis facilities were magnets for criminal activity. RAND’s study, published in September, refuted that claim, concluding, “[W]e found no evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries in general cause crime to rise.”
Previous analyses of crime statistics in Denver, Los Angeles, and Colorado Springs had separately disputed the notion that the locations of dispensaries are associated with elevated incidences of criminal activity.
RAND’s study “has been withdrawn pending further review,” said Warren Robak, a media spokesperson for the think tank. “I don’t have an estimate of when the review will be complete and the study will reappear.”
He explained, “We took a fresh look at the study based in part upon questions raised by some folks following publication.” Robak further added that the agency that was the “most vocal in its criticism of the study” was the L.A. city attorney’s office.
RAND had previously argued that their study was “the first systematic analysis of the link between medical marijuana dispensaries and crime.”
An archived version of the RAND Corporation study, “Regulating medical marijuana dispensaries: An overview with preliminary evidence of their impact on crime,” remains available in PDF format on the Americans For Safe Access (ASA) website here: http://americansforsafeaccess.org/downloads/RAND_Study.pdf.