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Study: Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Not Associated With Neighborhood Crime

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 7, 2012

    The establishment of medical cannabis dispensaries does not adversely impact local crime rates, according to a federally funded study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

    Investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) examined whether the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries is associated with elevated crimes rates. Researchers assessed the spatial relationship between density of medical marijuana dispensaries and two types of crime rates (violent crime and property crime) in 95 census tracts in Sacramento, California, during the year 2009.

    Researchers reported: “There were no observed cross-sectional associations between the density of medical marijuana dispensaries and either violent or property crime rates in this study. These results suggest that the density of medical marijuana dispensaries may not be associated with crime rates or that other factors, such as measures dispensaries take to reduce crime (i.e., doormen, video cameras), may increase guardianship such that it deters possible motivated offenders.”

    Authors acknowledged that their findings “run contrary to public perceptions” and that they conflict with public statements made by the California Police Chief’s Association, which had previously claimed, “Drug dealing, sales to minors, loitering, heavy vehicle and foot traffic in retail areas, increased noise, and robberies of customers just outside dispensaries are … common ancillary by-products of (medicinal cannabis) operations.”

    The UCLA is not the first study to dispute the allegation that brick-and-mortar dispensaries are adversely associated with crime. A 2011 study of crime rates in Los Angeles published by the RAND Corporation similarly concluded, “[W]e found no evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries in general cause crime to rise.” However, shortly following its publication RAND removed the study from its website after their findings were publicly criticized by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office.

    Other analyses of crime statistics in the cities of Denver, Los Angeles, and Colorado Springs have separately disputed the notion that the locations of dispensaries are associated with elevated incidences of criminal activity.

    Full text of the study, “Exploring the Ecological Association Between Crime and Medical Marijuana Dispensaries,” appears in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

    50 responses to “Study: Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Not Associated With Neighborhood Crime”

    1. toker says:

      were 15 trillion in debt and the feds are wasting money to tell us weed stores don’t create crime. idiots

    2. Galileo Galilei says:

      When we allow ourselves to be bullied into submission the way the RAND corporation did, we wind up wasting money on some imagined threat. This is nothing short of government waste and fraud.

      We need to spend our money more wisely.

    3. Dave Evans says:

      Theories have some evidence from which those theories were created. Marijuana prohibition doesn’t even have any evidence with which it can be supported. It isn’t even “a theory”!

      It is nothing more than straight up hearsay and bias intimidation. We can a national campaign to stop bullying. What is marijuana prohibition? Bullying again, but with lots of excuses. It is pathetic. The public already knows it. It just seems the folks that don’t know are those “out of touch” twits, like Obama and Bush, we have running our country.

      The fact Obama can pull such a personal 180, just goes to show he is a soulless manipulator. He knows the truth, but feels it just too complicated for his audience.

    4. Ray DiPasquale says:

      Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.”
      ? Tacitus, Annals

    5. […] Study: Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Not Associated With Neighborhood Crime The establishment of medical cannabis dispensaries does not adversely impact local crime rates, according to a federally funded study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) examined whether the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries is associated with elevated crimes rates. Researchers assessed the spatial relationship between density of medical marijuana dispensaries and two types of crime rates (violent crime and property crime) in 95 census tracts in Sacramento, California, during the year 2009. Researchers reported: “There were no […] […]

    6. I an attempt to get rid of them they will lie & say everything to make you believe that there is huge amounts of crime associated with the dispensaries but they never tell you where the real crime come from . http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c69_1339157747
      In fact, when law enforcement looks for criminals & gang members they first look at liquor stores . I never once heard them say they look for criminals at medical marijuana dispensaries .

    7. Galileo Galilei says:

      @Reese

      Yes, there is definitely an association between alcohol and crime.

      When I dropped back in after my commune days, I played music in redneck bars. I saw fights every other weekend. In 3+ years in the commune, I never even heard a raised voice, let alone violence.

      You can corroborate this by watching ‘Cops’ on TV a few times. The drug associated with violence is ALWAYS alcohol. Don’t take my word. Check it out.

    8. They seem to be imagining crime will come to the medical marijuana dispensaries if these sanctions were not imposed . Nothing is further from the TRUTH . Read here the what has been imposed by, Arizona’s politicians .

      In Arizona, it is a costly and cumbersome enterprise.

      Dispensaries have to abide by zoning regulations that change from one municipality to the next. Applicants must offer detailed plans on how to secure, store and track the marijuana they hope to sell. They have to offer educational materials, which is standard practice, and hire a medical director to supervise the operation, the only requirement of its kind in the country .

    9. Zexks says:

      This is all well and good, but doesn’t help much when those in power simply close their eyes and hide under their desks. Every study helps though.

    10. KayaLove says:

      I may be wrong, but the only real increase in crime brought about by setting up MMJ Dispensaries that I know about are the Raids perpetrated by the Feds on the Dispensaries and Educational Establishments.

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