Law enforcement agencies in California have always insisted that medical marijuana dispensaries are magnets for crime. A new study shows that that assumption couldn't be farther from the truth. According to the study, when medical marijuana dispensaries across Los Angeles closed down last year, crime actually increased.
Those medical marijuana dispensaries were shut down as the result of a new ordinance. The investigative report by the RAND Corp. previewed crime rates ten days before and after the medical marijuana dispensaries were shut down. The analysts found that crime increased by 60% within three blocks of a dispensary that had been shut down, compared to crime rates three blocks near an open dispensary.
According to theories by law enforcement agencies, crime rates should have shot up in areas where medical marijuana dispensaries were open. In fact, the reverse was true. The researchers found no evidence at all that keeping medical marijuana dispensaries open led to an increase in crime.
Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will find this ironic because the threat of increased crime in neighborhoods with medical marijuana dispensaries was the reason why the ordinance was passed in the first place. There were concerns that because these medical marijuana dispensaries deal with a lot of cash, they would attract robbers. Additionally, there were fears that thieves would want to steal the marijuana. The ordinance placed strict restrictions on the operations of medical marijuana dispensaries, and many of these were left with no other option but to close down.
The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office has already debunked the results of the study, saying that the findings are deeply flawed and relied on false assumptions, incorrect data and incomplete results.