As many countries and cities begin to decriminalize, legalize or change policies regarding marijuana use and availability many concerns are raised. One lingering concern is whether or not increased store front marijuana dispensaries will increase crime. As more states continue considering changes to medical and recreational marijuana legislation it is important to understand how access to marijuana through these dispensaries will have an affect on public health, city zoning and planning departments. This study aimed to determine whether the density of marijuana dispensaries in Long Beach, California was related to violent and property crimes in local and adjacent areas in 2012-2013 when local law enforcement was cracking down on the number of store front dispensaries.
Through collecting data on locations of crimes and medical marijuana dispensaries for a sample of 333 census block groups, the researchers found that the density of medical marijuana dispensaries was unrelated to property and violent crimes in local areas. However, dispensary density related positively to crime in spatially adjacent areas for both property and violent crime. It can be concluded that using law enforcement to reduce marijuana dispensaries in CA reduced crime near the dispensary locations but not in these locations specifically.
Freisthler, Bridget, et al. "A micro‐temporal geospatial analysis of medical marijuana dispensaries and crime in Long Beach, California." Addiction (2016).