When passing laws to shutter medical marijuana dispensaries, many cities and counties are relying on the idea that there is increased crime in areas with dispensaries. But that's apparently not the case at all. "The reality is, we haven't had any evidence to support those claims," said Nancy J. Kepple, M.S.W., a University of California, at Los Angeles researcher.
Kepple was the leader of a new study to be published in the July edition of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs that revealed that neighborhoods with medical marijuana dispensaries do not have higher crime rates than neighborhoods that don't.
The researchers studied 95 areas across Sacramento and looked at violent and property crime rates and the density of medical marijuana dispensaries in those areas. While areas with high unemployment rates tended to have more property and violent crimes, there was absolutely no correlation with areas with medical marijuana dispensaries.
While the research is currently based on the findings in one city, Kepple claims that "the study is a good first step…the more research that's done, the more complete a picture we'll have."