One of the knocks on medical marijuana coming out of Europe is that mmj equals crime. “Because [cannabis dispensaries] are repositories of valuable marijuana crops and large amounts of cash, several operators of dispensaries have been attacked and murdered by armed robbers both at their storefronts and homes, and such places have been regularly burglarized.” A pair of researchers from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs decided to see whether clinics in California fit the European profile.
Researchers Nancy Kepple and Bridget Freisthler focused on Sacramento, where dispensaries operated for six years before local regulatory policies were put in place in 2010. The researchers mapped all 40 clinics in the city, figuring out whether they were in neighborhoods with many single-parent households, families living in poverty, vacant housing units, a high proportion of young men, easy access to a freeway on-ramp and other characteristics associated with crime. Then they plugged in crime data from 2009 to see if there were any relationships between robberies, thefts and other acts of vice and the presence of drug dispensaries.
The models the researchers came up with confirmed that factors such as unemployment, commercial zoning and a high proportion of young adults were indeed associated with higher crime rates. But the number of marijuana clinics in a neighborhood had nothing to do with any of it, they found [my emphasis]. Writing up their results in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, however, the researchers didn’t seem to be persuaded by their own results. They noted that one possibility is that “the density of medical marijuana dispensaries may not be associated with neighborhood-level crime rates,” but they also theorized that the relationship “is likely more complex” than could be measured with the available data.
I love how this story wraps up. The researchers, [evidently] having decided what their results would be before they actually did any research, feel the need to discredit their own results which show medical marijuana does not drawn crime to an area. That’s old-fashioned reefer madness, Greenies, alive and well in the 21st century. We have so much re-learning to do once re-legalization arrives.
Original source material is here.
[image: Google images California]
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