RAND Says Streets Safer With Pot Clubs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary on May 11, 2010 in Los Angeles.

    Numbers can mean different things to different people. And depending on how you look at the numbers from a new RAND Corp. study, you may come away with the conclusion that medical marijuana clubs actually reduce crimes.

    A recent study by RAND examined crime near Los Angeles-based pot dispensaries. The Southern California city has long been famous for its number of pot clubs.

    However instead of studying crime in and around dispensaries, the report focuses on the impact of closing MCDs and the crime that comes with that.

    RAND's report center on 10 days before Los Angeles adopted a new ordinance, which forced about 400 pot clubs to shut down, and the ten days after they were shut down.

    The Los Angeles Times reports:

    They found a 59% increase in crime within three-tenths of a mile of a closed dispensary compared to an open one and a 24% increase within six-tenths of a mile.

    But RAND's researchers say the findings are subject to a large margin of error. Still do the numbers translate to the Bay Area's medical marijuana dispensaries?

    Perhaps if they were to close en masse.

    "If medical marijuana dispensaries are causing crime, then there should be a drop in crime when they close," said Mireille Jacobson, the study's lead author and a senior economist at RAND. "Individual dispensaries may attract crime or create a neighborhood nuisance, but we found no evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries in general cause crime to rise."

    Opponents of medical marijuana clubs will point to stories like Tuesday's where a patient was robbed in San Francisco after walking out of a club.