Submitted by lmadmin on Sun, 06/17/2012 - 21:57
Despite some issues for the contrary, neighborhoods with medical marijuana dispensaries may not have higher crime rates than other neighborhoods - no less than in one California city.
That is the conclusion of a brand new study within the July situation on the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Researchers identified that, across Sacramento neighborhoods, there was no evidence that having a larger density of medical marijuana dispensaries was associated with greater rates of violent crime or property crime.
As extra U.S. states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical reasons, there have already been developing issues that the dispensaries that sell the drug - and the people who go there - will turn into targets for crime.
"The reality is, we haven't had any evidence to support those claims," said Nancy J. Kepple, M.S.W., a researcher in the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the new study.
Kepple and her colleague, Bridget Freisthler, Ph.D., looked at violent and property crime rates along with the density of medical marijuana outlets in 95 distinct locations of Sacramento in 2009. Not surprisingly, commercial districts and neighborhoods with high unemployment rates tended to possess much more property crime and violent crime. But there was no correlation among crime and also the concentration of medical marijuana outlets.
"This conclusion suggests that we really should additional question regardless of whether medical marijuana dispensaries are associated with crime," Kepple said.
But, she stressed, the study is far from the final word. The researchers looked at neighborhoods at only one point in time. So it is not clear whether or not a neighborhood's crime patterns could adjust more than time, soon after far more medical marijuana dispensaries are opened.
"This study is really a superior initially step," Kepple stated. "But it was not created to address the larger picture of how these dispensaries may well be affecting neighborhoods."
Additionally, the findings are depending on one particular city, along with other cities could have distinct experiences. Proper now, 17 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana use.
Kepple mentioned that further studies in other cities, and studies that follow crime rates more than time, would assist. "The much more analysis that is completed, the much more full a picture we'll have."
It would also be great to understand why, a minimum of in this study, medical marijuana outlets had been not linked to crime rates, according to Kepple.
Does, for example, a dispensary's amount of security matter? Within this study, info on outlets' security measures was not incorporated. Therefore, it isn't achievable to inform how those may have factored in. Future research, Kepple said, really should appear at whether sturdy security systems seem to deter crime.