Crime Higher in Neighborhoods Without Marijuana Dispensaries, RAND Corporation Finds


Our feature in this week’s Voice finds that under Mayor Bloomberg, over 60,000 (mostly black and Latino male) New Yorkers will be arrested this year for small levels of marijuana possession. In a study co-authored by Harry Levine and Loren Sigel, the Drug Policy Alliance puts the price tag to the city for all of these “crimes” at $75 million a year.

Meanwhile, out in Los Angeles where medical marijuana is legal, the RAND Corporation has just found in their own study that crime is higher in neighborhoods where marijuana dispensaires have been closed.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

In a study of crime near Los Angeles dispensaries — which the investigators call the most rigorous independent examination of its kind — the Santa Monica-based think tank found that crime actually increased near hundreds of pot shops after they were required to close last summer.

According to our friends over at Toke of the Town:​​

The RAND Corporation on Tuesday issued a report dispelling the myth that there are inherent links between medical marijuana distribution centers and crime. The study upon which the RAND report is based claims that crime was as much as 60 percent greater around medical marijuana dispensaries that had been shut down by the City of Los Angeles compared to those areas with open dispensaries.

You can read the Drug Policy Alliance report on what marijuana arrests cost New York City here, and read the RAND Corporation’s study on how pot dispensaries seem to reduce crime in Los Angeles. But what’s glaringly obvious from both is that, regardless of the waste of human lives marijuana arrests cost New York or Los Angeles, they are extremely expensive for both cities, save neither one money, and don’t reduce crime.

The White Mayor’s Burden
Mike Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative: the Full Report