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Researchers Link Dispensary Closures with Increased Crime
Author: Benjamin M. Adams  11/07/2017 - 18:42:00

Many have asserted that medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries lead to an increase in crime, but recent data speaks otherwise. New research published in the Journal of Urban Economics determined that the 2010 closure of over 400 Los Angeles, California medical cannabis dispensaries led to a surge in crime. Areas where dispensaries remained open, on the other hand, experienced a lower crime rate. 

Co-authors Tom Y. Chang and Mireille Jacobsen analyzed the effect on crime when dispensaries get shut down. Chang and Jacobsen also discussed the results of the study in the Harvard Business Review. The 2010 mass dispensary closing in Los Angeles provided a “natural experiment” to estimate the impact that dispensaries have on local crime. But the results were not what they were expecting. Researchers discovered a significant increase in crime in the blocks immediately surrounding closed dispensaries, compared to areas where dispensaries remained open.

Researchers attempted to dispel the myth that dispensaries are “crime magnets” that is fueled by the media. “Dispensaries are controversial as many believe they contribute to local crime,” researchers stated. “To assess this claim, we analyze the short-term mass closing of hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. Contrary to popular wisdom, we find an immediate increase in crime around dispensaries ordered to close relative to those allowed to remain open.”

The reasoning could be explained by a 2010 study that found that retail businesses provide over $30,000 a year in social benefit due to prevented crime. Foot traffic puts more eyes on the street and makes crime more difficult in many situations.

The study authors also looked at temporary restaurant closures by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health  due to public health code violations. The situations were similar and produced similar crime patterns. Closing both types of businesses led to a measurable increase in crime. California cities should take notice of the findings when assessing whether they should move forward with allowing dispensaries.

Original article from ireadculture:Researchers Link Dispensary Closures with Increased Crime


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