Study of the Day: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Don't Attract Crime

More

UCLA researchers look at crime locations in Sacramento and find that, contrary to what many assume, they don't revolve around medical marijuana outlets.

Study of the DayGirish Menon/Shutterstock

PROBLEM: As more and more states in the U.S. legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, many fear that the shops that sell the drug and their customers will become targets for crime.

METHODOLOGY: To see if the locations of medical marijuana stores are associated with crime, University of California, Los Angeles, researchers by Nancy J. Kepple and Bridget Freisthler looked at violent and property crime rates and the density of medical marijuana dispensaries in 95 different areas of Sacramento in 2009. They controlled for neighborhood attributes associated with crime, including commercially zoned areas, percentage of one-person households, and unemployment rate.

RESULTS: As expected, commercial districts as well as neighborhoods with high unemployment rates and many young singles did tend to have more property and violent crime. Kepple and Freisthler found no correlation, however, between crime and the concentration of medical marijuana shops after accounting for these factors.

CONCLUSION: Medical marijuana outlets in Sacramento are not linked to crime.

IMPLICATION: Kepple stresses that the study is far from the final word, since it only focuses on a few neighborhoods at one point in time. She says in a statement: "The more research that's done, the more complete a picture we'll have."

SOURCE: The full study, "Exploring the Ecological Association Between Crime and Medical Marijuana Dispensaries," is published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Hans Villarica writes for and produces The Atlantic's Health channel. His work has appeared in TIME, People Asia, and Fast Company.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In