What’s the real link between pot dispensaries and crime rates?
For years, opponents of marijuana legalization have voiced the same arguments whenever the subject of dispensaries comes up: having legal cannabis vendors, they say, promotes the spread of crime, brings property values down in the neighborhood and encourages teenage marijuana use. And even though the push for marijuana legalization has gained widespread national support, these arguments against dispensaries have held sway.
A number of studies pointing to a link between rising crime rates and dispensaries are also based on data from law enforcement, which has traditionally voiced opposition to legalization: a February 2019 paper from the University of Colorado Denver, for instance — which pointed to a rise in crime rates in neighborhoods with dispensaries after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use — was based on official police data, which may have been skewed if law enforcement went out of its way to target neighborhoods with dispensaries.
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