Crime Rates Rise as Collectives Close
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 09/26/2011 in Medical Marijuana News
Think that marijuana dispensary down the street creates more crime in your community? Think again. A report that investigators are calling “the most rigorous independent examination of its kind” found that shutting down cannabis collectives actually increases crime rates.
The report, which was released by Santa Monica-based think tank RAND Corp., took a look at crime reports near 600 dispensaries in Los Angeles County. Of the 430 that were ordered to close by the City Council last year, the researchers found a 59% increase in crime within three-tenths of a mile of the closed collectives and 24% increase within six-tenths of a mile.
Authorities and opponents of collectives say that dispensaries attract thieves due to the marijuana and cash stored inside the buildings. However, the LAPD has admitted that most of the complaints surrounding collectives doesn’t involve real crimes, but minor nuisances such as loitering, double parking and noise. And as Mireille Jacobson, the study’s lead author says: “If medical marijuana dispensaries are causing crime, then there should be a drop in crime when they close.” But that’s not the case. And considering that most collectives have security cameras, security guards, an increase in foot traffic, as well as the diminishing the need to sell weed on the streets, some may argue that dispensaries actually make the streets safer.
This should serve as a wake up call for Michigan authorities, as the Great Lakes State recently shut down dispensaries and collectives across the state. Based on this study’s findings, safe access for patients seems to also translate to safer neighborhoods, too. Not only do dispensaries not cause crime, their presence actually discourages it.