Often accused of contributing to increased criminal activities in the neighborhood, it seems like the negative image projected by pot dispensaries is about to be shaken off. A recent study, published in the Journal of Urban Economics in July 2017, identified an inverse relationship between foot traffic in medical marijuana dispensaries and crime.
In the study titled, “Going to pot? The impact of dispensary closures on crime,” researchers Mireille Jacobson, Ph.D. from The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California (UC), Irvine and Tom Y. Chang, Ph.D. from the USC Marshall School of Business analyzed the effect of the mass closure of several marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles on June 7, 2010. As per their analysis, there was a dramatic increase in crime after shutting down of around 400 unregistered medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. The research revealed that there was an immediate increase in criminal activities around the closed dispensaries compared to those that were functioning.
“Contrary to popular wisdom, we found an immediate increase in crime around dispensaries ordered to close relative to those allowed to remain open. The connection between restaurants and MMDs is that they both contribute to the ‘walkability score of a given area. Areas with higher scores have more ‘eyes upon the street’ a factor that is proven to deter some types of crime,” said Dr. Jacobson. Similar results were also observed in temporary restaurant closures due to health code violations. The crimes that reported an increase due to the closure of pot dispensaries and restaurants were theft from vehicles and property crime.
The study proved that instead of being crime magnets, pot dispensaries reduced the rate of crime in their immediate vicinity. For their research, the duo used the block-level crime statistics that they obtained from the L.A. Police Department. By observing the number of incidents in a given neighborhood 10 days prior to June 7, and 10 days following it, the researchers reported that “Thefts from vehicles increase by almost 30 percent at one-quarter of a mile, and by 100 percent at one-eighth of a mile around dispensaries ordered to close, relative to those allowed to remain open.”
Researchers concluded that retail businesses were effective in lowering crime even when the business was that of a marijuana dispensary.
Marijuana dispensaries: Facing neighborhood opposition
Though 29 U.S. states and the District of Washington of D.C. have legalized marijuana use in some form, marijuana dispensaries continue to face backslash across communities. Discrediting the medical marijuana program, residents often cite security reasons and an increase in criminal activities to dissuade companies from opening up pot shops in residential neighborhoods. Though they might vote in support of legalizing marijuana, most of the residents simply do not want a store distributing cannabis in their area.
Arguing that a dispensary may be a threat to a community’s image, the ones that often lose out are genuine patients. But with the new study highlighting an inverse relationship between opening up of marijuana dispensaries and increasing crime rate, there is hope that there will be a marked change in the perception of people.
Road map to recovery
When abused, marijuana can give rise to psychological and physical dependence that can eventually take the form of an addiction. Long-term marijuana use can lead to changes in the structure of the brain and can interfere with a person’s daily life. If not checked, marijuana use can have long-term detrimental health effects.
Sovereign Health of Florida is a leading marijuana drug addiction treatment center that offers addiction treatment programs, focusing on both physical and psychological effects of marijuana withdrawal. A comprehensive treatment for drug addiction at our state-of-the-art facilities consists of medically supervised detoxification, followed by behavioral therapies and/or counseling sessions. In addition to traditional therapies, both our Fort Myers and Pompano Beach facilities in Florida offer experiential therapies like yoga, meditation, art and music therapy. For more information on our holistic marijuana addiction treatment programs or to locate our finest treatment centers near you, call at our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with our representative for further assistance.
Sovereign Health Group is a leading addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health treatment provider. Call our admissions team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the help you deserve.