New Study: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Don’t Increase Local Crime
It’s long been an argument of those who are against medical marijuana that the requisite dispensaries that pop up in local neighborhoods increase the rate of crime. Because legalized marijuana for medical purposes is a relatively new institution in any state, there has been little evidence to support or defy that assertion. However, a new study suggests that medical marijuana dispensaries may have little to no effect on local crime rates, despite the claims of those against medical marijuana.
The Study: Sacramento CA in 2009
The researchers checked the crime rates of 95 areas in Sacramento, CA in 2009 – some with marijuana dispensaries and some without. The evidence showed that the crime rates in neighborhoods with the dispensaries exhibited no significant increase in crime after the dispensaries opened their doors, according to a study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
More Research Into the Effects of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Is Needed
The study is preliminary, however, and will require follow up, according to the researchers. The crime rates were taken from a single point in time and did not track patterns, which could change as the number of medical marijuana dispensaries increase and/or decrease.
Nancy Kepple was the leader of the study. She says: “This study is a good first step. But it was not designed to address the bigger picture of how these dispensaries might be affecting neighborhoods. The more research that’s done, the more complete a picture we’ll have.”
Also, because the study focused just on Sacramento, the results of similar studies in other parts of the country may yield different results. All told, there are 17 states and Washington DC that currently allow for the prescription of marijuana for medical purposes and therefore have medical marijuana dispensaries.
What Do You Think?
The medical effectiveness of marijuana aside, what do you think about how medical marijuana dispensaries affect the neighborhoods? Do you think that this study, when explored further, will reveal that crime rates actually do increase over time in neighborhoods that are home to dispensaries – especially if rates of abuse of the drug increase? How do you think that medical marijuana dispensaries affect your ability to stay sober in the long term? Does it make it harder or have no effect at all? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think about the ongoing medical marijuana debate.