Study Shows Dispensaries Do Not Increase Crime

By The Union of Medical Marijuana Patients on June 13th 2012

Nancy J. Kepple M.S.W. and Bridget Freisthler, PH.D of the University of California, Los Angeles, Luskin School of Public Affairs have published  an scientific report titled “Exploring the Ecological Association Between Crime and Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The study uses the premise of routine activity theory to analyze how dispensaries might contribute to criminal activity.

… crime occurs when three necessary conditions are met: (a) the presence of a motivated offender; (b) a suitable target defined by its value, visibility, access, and/or likelihood of low resistance to crime; and (c) the absence of guardians against crime, such as place managers (i.e., owners and the agents they hire to monitor and regulate behaviors), inadequate security, and/or low levels of informal social control in the surrounding environment (Clarke and Felson, 1993; Cohen and Felson, 1979; Eck and Weisburd, 1995).

After all was said and done, Kepple and Freisthler concluded that,

 … the density of medical marijuana dispensaries may not be associated with neighborhood-level crime rates. 

That is to say no more than any other commercial business that regularly keeps high amounts of cash on hand. An important point to note is the value of security and monitoring the area surrounding the physical locations is emphasized as a method for reducing such risks.

 If medical marijuana dispensaries have strong guardianship, such as security and monitoring systems, routine activity theory would suggest that the three necessary conditions for crime are not met.