Yet another study, this one from the University of Colorado, says dispensaries don’t increase crime in their neighborhoods.

That cannabis retailers attract criminals is a belief commonly held by police, who often use anecdotal stories about robberies and other crimes as evidence that the world near these shops is going to pot.

Not so, says Paul Stretesky, a professor at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs who co-authored the study. He and colleagues looked at 275 medical (pre-recreational) shops in 75 Denver neighborhoods and compared 2010 crime nearby to that of the year 2000.

The study, published in the journal Urban Geography, concluded that there was no greater crime in the neighborhoods served by dispensaries.

A summary concludes:

 … marijuana centers are likely to be situated in neighborhoods with higher crime rates and more retail employment. Thus, despite the view by many planners and law enforcement officials that these centers are problematic, they do not take on LULU [undesirable land-use] characteristics.

Of course, crime has dropped across the board since 2000 in most major American cities. Stretesky argues, however, that if cannabis retailers are hot spots for criminal activity, the numbers just don’t show it.

He says:

Everybody is saying that these things are undesirable. If that’s the case, it’s certainly not showing up in the data.

About The Author


Raul Duke has been working as a journalist in Southern California for two decades. The medical marijuana juggernaut is one of his many beats. He's a longtime Westside resident who needs to renew his doctor's recommendation soon. If you have news tips, reach out:

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