Study: Medical Dispensaries Not Linked To Neighborhood Crime, Violence

Riverside, CA: Retail stores that sell primarily alcohol and tobacco are associated with an increased prevalence of neighborhood crime, but medical cannabis dispensaries are not, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Preventative Medicine.

A team of researchers from the University of California, San Jose State University, and the University of Kansas assessed the geographical relationship between retailers and crime in south Los Angeles.

Authors concluded: “Results indicated that mean property and violent crime rates within 100-foot buffers of tobacco shops and alcohol outlets – but not MMDs (medical marijuana dispensaries) – substantially exceeded community-wide mean crime rates and rates around grocery/convenience stores. … Thus, study findings provide the first empirical evidence that tobacco shops may constitute public health threats that associate with crime and violence in US low-income urban communities of color.”

A 2017 study of dispensary operations in Los Angeles previously reported that “Open dispensaries provide over $30,000 per year in social benefit in terms of larcenies prevented.”

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “The geography of crime and violence surrounding tobacco shops, medical marijuana dispensaries, and off-sale alcohol outlets in a large, urban low-income community of color,” appears in Preventive Medicine.