What with the company's deep connections to the American war machine, the RAND Corporation isn't exactly a pack of hippies. Which makes it all the more surprising that the policy-think tank released a study this week declaiming that medical marijuana dispensaries cause a decrease in crime, contradicting what many law enforcement officials near and far have been claiming for years.
Law enforcement officials in Los Angeles — the city from which the study's data originated — slammed the study as deeply flawed
. And when contacted by SF Weekly
, a San Francisco Police Department spokesman expressed doubt. “It's hard to track, but [crime] near cannabis clubs is a very common occurrence,” department spokesman Officer Carlos M. Manfredi said. “Cannabis clubs have a lot of money and a lot of weed; those things cause a criminal element to gravitate toward [dispensaries].”
This is hard to quantify, Manifredi noted, because the SFPD's Comstat crime-tracking system wouldn't report whether a robbery at the 24th and Mission BART had anything to do with the two dispensaries within an eight-block radius.
Despite outcry from the Police Commission, SFPD officials have been repeating the clubs-cause-crime mantra for years without issue — and indeed, one former district captain, called to task specifically for these claims, was subsequently promoted to assistant chief.