The Rand Corporation has removed from its website a controversial study that suggested medical marijuana dispensaries may help reduce crime in their neighborhoods, reports the Los Angeles Times. The decision came almost three weeks after enraged Los Angeles city attorneys slammed the report and demanded an immediate retraction. Warren Robak, a Rand spokesman, said, “As we’ve begun to take a look at the report, we decided it’s best to remove it from circulation until that review is complete.”
The study came under intense assault by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, which has argued in court that crime associated with dispensaries is a key reason the city needs to limit the number. The office called the report’s conclusions “highly suspect and unreliable,” saying that they were based on “faulty assumptions, conjecture, irrelevant data, untested measurements and incomplete results.” Rand had compared crime reports from the 10 days before the city’s medical marijuana ordinance took effect on June 7, 2010, with the 10 days after, when some of the more than 400 illegal dispensaries shut down. They found a 59 percent increase in crime within 0.3 of a mile of a closed dispensary compared to an open one. They acknowledged that those results were subject to a large margin of error and said that increase could range from as low as 5.4 percent to as high as 114 percent. The researchers hypothesized that dispensaries may increase security because they employ cameras and guards, generate late-night foot traffic, displace street sales and draw more police patrols.