Study: Prevalence of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Not Independently Associated with Increased Instances of Child Maltreatment

Columbus, OH: The density of medical cannabis dispensaries is not independently associated with elevated rates of child abuse or neglect, according to data published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

A pair of Ohio State University investigators assessed the relationship between the geographic density of medical cannabis dispensaries and alcohol retailers and rates of child welfare investigations in Los Angeles County. Researchers reported that alcohol outlet density was independently related to a greater number of child welfare referrals, but that the prevalence of medical marijuana facilities was not.

“Neither measure for density of medical marijuana dispensaries was related to child maltreatment referrals,” authors concluded. They cautioned, however, “Although this study does not find a relationship between medical marijuana dispensaries and referrals for investigations of child maltreatment, it should not be considered a definitive finding of this relationship. The increasing number of states that are allowing marijuana to be used for medical and recreational purposes is resulting in more people using the drug and the effects on parenting are still unknown.”

Full text of the study, “Medical marijuana dispensaries and referrals for child maltreatment investigations,” appears in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.