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Study finds less crime near closed pot dispensaries

Southern California medical marijuana dispensary
Crime actually increased near Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries that had been required to close last year, a study found.

Researchers at the Rand Corp. think tank compared the 10 days before the city's medical marijuana ordinance took effect June 7, 2010, with the 10 days after, when many of the more than 400 illegal dispensaries were shut down, if only briefly.

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

The city attorney's office, which has argued in court proceedings that the number of dispensaries needs to be reduced to deal with "well-documented crime," called the report's conclusions "highly suspect and unreliable" and     based on "faulty assumptions, conjecture, irrelevant data, untested measurements and incomplete results."

In particular, the office challenged the idea that most dispensaries closed June 7, 2010, and were not open for at least 10 days.

And it offered its own conjecture for the rise in crime: infighting among collective members, increased traffic for pot fire sales and customers disgruntled to find their dispensary closed.

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-- John Hoeffel

Photo: Merchandise at a Southern California medical marijuana dispensary. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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