Looking for Crime in All the Wrong Places

Sep 16, 2010

Colorado, crime, dispensaries, Kevin Sabet, Medical Marijuana, ONDCP, police

We’ve all heard the rhetoric, trotted out again and again by law enforcement and paranoid city officials, that dispensaries and other marijuana facilities cause crime wherever they are. They focus on a horror story and blame the dispensary regardless of the facts at hand. They point to media coverage of similar incidents and say that all dispensaries are blights on the community.

Now, the media and the authorities are very good at using scare tactics, but what they consistently lack are statistical data to support their claims. This is because there is no such data.

Yesterday, the Denver Post reported that neither Colorado Springs or Denver police could find any data to support a correlation between dispensaries and increases in crime. In fact, such locations were the targets of crime at rates comparable to any other business. Criminal acts in the surrounding areas did not rise when the stores opened.

This is surely disappointing to many prohibitionists, most notably Kevin Sabet, a special advisor to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Over the summer, Sabet was so desperate to prove the negative effects of dispensaries that he started an intensive search for anything that could provide statistical support for the wild claims of law enforcement.

Looks like he came up short.