Rand retracts controversial marijuana and crime study

October 25, 2011

The Rand Corp. on Monday retracted a controversial report on crime around Los Angeles medical marijuana clinics after discovering major flaws in the study’s methodology. [LA Times]

The Santa Monica research institution, one of the most prestigious in the nation, made the decision after realizing that they had failed to include critical data from the LAPD.

The study of crime data near dispensaries published last month led Rand researchers to suggest that the stores, which usually have guards and surveillance cameras, may help reduce crime in their neighborhoods.

Lawyers in the city attorney’s office were outraged. They have been struggling to reduce the number of pot outlets and have argued that they are a threat to public safety. Special Assistant City Atty. Jane Usher and Assistant City Atty. Asha Greenberg complained that the report had “critical flaws,” one of which was failing “to obtain or accurately report the available crime statistics.”

“This is the right outcome,” Usher said Monday. “Putting information that’s not credible in front of the public and in front of policymakers does a disservice to everyone.”

Medical marijuana advocates hoped to use the report to dispute allegations that dispensaries cause crime and had blasted Rand for buckling to political pressure when it took the report off its website two weeks ago while it reviewed the criticisms.

The Rand researchers reviewed 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 at least some of the more than 400 illegal dispensaries shut down.

They found a 59% increase in crime within 0.3 of a mile of a closed dispensary compared to an open one.

“They made mistakes,” said Debra Knopman, a Rand vice president and director of the infrastructure, safety and environment division. “What we’re wrestling with is how the mistakes went undetected.”




  1. standup says:

    What a joke. The DA Cooley I’m sure wet his pants when he saw the report since he is the total sob who thank God did not get elected to state Atty General. The Rand report wasn’t skewed. The sniveling babies just didn’t get their way. If it was, let’s take a look at our NTF super special, fair, law abiding, beautiful person Rodney John. In the last medical marijuana trial he quoted another Rand report that quoted the price of production of one ounce of marijuana at $37.00. If you want to talk about using skewed data, this report was based on mechanical production when it becomes LEGAL Rod. It doesn’t mean chicken scratch today Rod. It doesn’t include delivery and it doesn’t include paying a fair wage not equal to minimal for a farm hand. This is another example of law enforcement using data that suits them and their war machine. Don’t let them fool you with their bs. All they care about is more laws, more prisons, more das, more judges, etc. Talk about skewed. More like skewed in the brain.

    (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
  2. Paperboys says:

    It was a statistical analysis? To me that means its conclusions are automatically suspect.
    The LA D.A. wouldn’t have said a word if the study had come out the other way — that dispensaries definitely attract/increase crime. In fact the D.A. would have screamed to Heaven the evils of dispensaries as proven by this study.
    I’m so tired of special interests using these types of half-ass studies to justify, if not ramrod, their agendas down the throats of everyone else.
    A group of eggheads does a flawed study and it suddenly becomes Gospel?
    The cops can’t say the majority of people are on their side or “Let the people decide” in this case, because the people have already spoken. A healthy majority of voters in California supported medical marijuana.
    But cops and prosecutors have an inherent financial interest in keeping it illegal and busting/prosecuting people. Call it job security.

    (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
  3. Typoqueen says:

    I wonder if they have studies to see what the crime rates around strip clubs, bars and liquor stores are compared to surrounding areas. I wouldn’t mind seeing real accurate crime rate studies on pot pharmas, strip joints, bars and liquor stores. Actually I wouldn’t mind seeing what the crime rates are around high schools, I would never live right next to a high school. I’d also like to see if the retail businesses around the pot shops see any changes in sales. Regardless, if the crime rates are higher then they could put them in different areas, put the pharmas next to police stations. we voted and the majority said yes so they need to accommodate to what the people want. I went to a shop right next to the Coffee Joint (pot pharma) on Ventura Blvd. in Encino, a very upper income area. It wasn’t scary, it looked nice and this is in a pretty ritzy area. But of course I’m sure that If I wouldn’t go to a shop next to a pharma in East LA.. There would have to be a lot of factors to get an accurate study.

    Another thing, with taxes that would be generated it seems like cities could add extra cops to those areas and phara’s would still be cost effective for the city.

    (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
  4. MaryMalone says:

    QUOTING HOTDOG: “Now I wonder if the new results are flawed since the data comes from a source violently opposed to this voter mandated situation of allowing MM for the public. The authorities (even here) have shown themselves to be bumbling idiots in their frenetic mismanagement of this controversy.”


    ITA. The police are notorious for twisting facts to fit their best interests, and they are definitely anti-citizen rights when it comes to the legal use of prescribed marijuana.

    There are HUGE conflicts of interest present when the police (who are “outraged”) start throwing the weight of their taxfunded organization around to stop the legal use of a controlled substance.

    Believing the police on this issue would be like believing Maria Kelly’s opinion about the Paavo Ogren Los Osos Sewer Vision.

    Way too many issues involved in conflicts of interest to take either Maria Kelly, or the police, as credible references.

    (7) 13 Total Votes - 10 up - 3 down
  5. hotdog says:

    Now I wonder if the new results are flawed since the data comes from a source violently opposed to this voter mandated situation of allowing MM for the public. The authorities (even here) have shown themselves to be bumbling idiots in their frenetic mismanagement of this controversy.
    The public said ‘allow it’ and now, many years later, the frightened rabbits we have in high office (all the way to the white house) are wigged out of their minds about this. They are so stupid they cannot come to grips with the fact that the more tightly regulated or illegaled the more problems arise. Idiots, our ‘law and order’ fools are causing the crime here and devastating destruction in Mexico.
    Prescription drugs have now surpassed illegal drugs their nuisance value, legalized Ganga to end this illegal war on a simple weed. Treat it like alcohol. Treat alcohol like the dangerous drug it is.

    (12) 20 Total Votes - 16 up - 4 down

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