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Medical Marijuana Causes Crime? Not so Fast says Study

One of the most popular criticisms by opponents of medical marijuana has to do with a perceived increase in local crime.  Politicians and outraged community members frequently claim that marijuana dispensaries will increase local crime.  Often, they seem reluctant to even accept the idea that this may not be the case even though nobody really knows the impact of dispensaries on crime as legalized marijuana is only in its infancy.

A new study recently published shows that the presence of dispensaries does not increase crime, at least in the Sacramento area.  The July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs includes the results from a study conducted by University of California researchers.  In Sacramento, there was no evidence that indicated that violent or property crime rose in neighborhoods with a higher concentration of marijuana dispensaries.  Nancy Kepple, who was in charge of the research said the study was a “good first step” but cautioned that  it “was not designed to address the bigger picture of how these dispensaries might be affecting neighborhoods.”

While the results are encouraging more research is clearly needed in other regions.  Could this just be a phenomenon in Sacramento or will future research produce similar results?  It may be important to realize that criminals are everywhere and that a marijuana dispensary may not be anymore motivating than robbing a bank.  If someone is looking for an illegal quick money grab, perhaps the type of business is not their primary motivation.  Many businesses keep cash on hand but we have not tried to shut down or drastically limit jewelry or department stores.  Even if future research shows that marijuana dispensaries are attracting criminal activity, there will not be a level playing field until caregivers have access to banks.  In short, dispensaries have no other discourse other than stockpiling cash.  Since they likely will not have the same protection of a bank vault, criminals may target a dispensary simply because they know the money cannot be placed in a bank.

Social progression can be compared to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Though this article will not attempt to dissect the entire theory, the basic premise of Einstein’s idea is that time and space are relative and not fixed.    The speed of an object will appear slower for someone already in motion as opposed to someone standing still.  If an individual’s thoughts are not progressing, but rather staying still, then new ideas will pass them by at a much higher speed than someone already moving forward.  Opponents of reform may have a difficult time interpreting the changing world in front of them.

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46 Responses to “Medical Marijuana Causes Crime? Not so Fast says Study”

  1. avatar
    jd815 June 7, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    I like your points but I think people against marijuana reform are close minded and definately dont understand the theory of relativity

    • avatar
      truehigh June 7, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      Once upon a time we were all ignorant lambs, so I wouldn’t hold their biases against them. Old habits, ingrained for decades, are difficult to break.

      Who wants to think they’ve been believing a lie their whole life?

      • avatar
        frigidaire June 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

        I like your story, does it have an ending? lol i guess ignorance is bliss?

      • avatar
        Reeferman2012 June 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

        If people can’t face facts that is something they will have to work out in their personal time. When science b#$%& slaps you in the face with study after study the people who ignore them just look more and more foolish. No one person know everything, or anywhere close to it.

      • avatar
        CompassionateCare June 8, 2012 at 12:06 am #

        No one wants to believe it, but it’s true and the lambs don’t know any better but to follow. Watched Safehouse tonight with Denzel, good movie about not believing in the lies! Anyone seen it?

    • avatar
      JamaicanMeHappy June 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      In Jamaica they laugh at the Americans silly politricks and laws

  2. avatar
    y2tweed June 7, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Usual suspects pic is great!

  3. avatar
    stonedhands June 7, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    I just hate how most time there is a study that is released that talks about marijuana doing something terrible or being the root cause for something, usually other drugs or alcohol are the main culprit and because marijuana is mentioned it always gets the headlines to keep the bs propaganda machine going.

    • avatar
      kaylene June 7, 2012 at 11:55 am #

      Yea it seems like any study that produces anti-marijuana results gets huge coverage but anything positive doesn’t get much attention. Bad publicity is good publicity >:(

  4. avatar
    CannaGenius June 7, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    In my opinion there have been few that are against marijuana law reform who supply a factually accurate case as to why the laws should remain the way they are.

  5. avatar
    DeadHead63 June 7, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    I think its funny personally when you hear about someone trying to rob a mmj storefront. Do they not know about the armed guards, securuty doors, and lock in systems that just about every location has in use?

    • avatar
      MILegal June 7, 2012 at 10:38 am #

      I read a story once where they came in through the ventilation and when the securuty system activated they were locked in a room with a bunch of herb and cash until the police arrived. I can’t rememer where it took place though.

      • avatar
        JamaicanMeHappy June 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

        That’s crazy, the things people will go thru! People are getting desperate, because there’s no money and no jobs! Dispensaries create money and jobs!!!!!

    • avatar
      Piece4Peace June 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

      Yeah 99% of dispensaries I go into have the lock in cage where it’s impossible to escape. People dumb enough to try to steal from a dispensary will get caught

    • avatar
      frigidaire June 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      I’ve worked in a collective where we got robbed. The guy got stuck in the cage. It’s scary to think that it can happen. it totally ruined my high and my panic level was off the charts.

      by the way, he took the crappiest weed we had, we could’ve just given it to him if he’d asked. sucka

      • avatar
        Greenleaf420 June 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

        Haha thats funny, wasting his efforts to get some bad herb! When I used to work in a collective people always asked if I was scared but I never felt scared, our security wa the scary ones!

  6. avatar
    iTokeAlot June 7, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Reading this makes my head hurt, why would someone want to steal from another? Especially one who has been caring for others as a profession. What a sad world it is.

    • avatar
      frigidaire June 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

      I agree, it’s a sad world. Someone can get hurt in the process, what’s the value of life? I guess I’ll have to ponder about this one.

    • avatar
      SuccessfulSmoker June 8, 2012 at 12:08 am #

      Greed, Jealousy, Anger…

  7. avatar
    Trich Rider June 7, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Well I know for a fact about a little community in Mar Vista that was plagued with drug dealers and drunks laying about until the Rainforest Collective opened on that block. They were very active in the community and actually cleaned up that area. The neigbors who initially hated the idea of a “pot store” in their neighborhood now supported this business. They realized that controlled, safe access kept these deals from happening in front of their children. Unfortunately, the city did not see it the same way and used aggressive and illegal zoning rules to run them out. The lowlifes immediately returned to the block while the residents wandered what happened to such an upstanding part of the community. I loved that place! I’d take the trike down there a few days a week just to hang out there. Miss it!

    • avatar
      Love4Tr33s June 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      I remember the rainforest collective!!!!!! I lived on Venice blvd in Mar vista about 3 blocks down from it! I used to participate in their program on Sundays where we’d walk around and pick up trash and cig butts and get a free gram it was awesome :D really helping the community. Where’s the love for trees!?

      • avatar
        Dex212 June 7, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

        That place was dope, I used to pass by there on my way through Culver City, had the best staff for real

    • avatar
      Reeferman2012 June 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

      Sounds like an awesome place, I wish I knew about it when it was still in operation.

    • avatar
      frigidaire June 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      Sound like the collective I use to work at. I was their receptionist for the longest time and then graduated to budtender. That’s when I noticed the numbers of people who came in and really needed medical marijuana. It was really intense, sometimes you get that crazy bald guys who talk about History and his gardening. Anyways, they let me roll joints for free medication.

    • avatar
      MissMaryJane June 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

      It’s sad that that place got shut down but these places who are doing illegal things are still open, the valleys the worst!

  8. avatar
    testaccountdontuse June 7, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    > If someone is looking for an illegal quick money grab, perhaps the type of business is not their primary motivation.

    Maybe, or maybe these dispensaries are more of a target because they deal in cash almost exclusively. Why do most of them deal in cash when pretty much every other reputable business accepts cards? Perhaps it’s because they don’t want an exact paper trail of where all the money went.

    • avatar
      criminalminds June 7, 2012 at 11:40 am #

      I think that’s unfair. Here in LA, hundreds of restaurants and other shops only use cash, so why single out dispensaries as having a nefarious purpose?

      • avatar
        testaccountdontuse June 7, 2012 at 11:46 am #

        Oh come on, a lot of those places are just foreign implants who don’t want to deal with the complexities of densely-worded legalese in credit card contracts. And I’m sure some of them are also doing shady things as well.

        My main point is that many dispensaries keep cash as the main price point to avoid having to declare too much income come tax day. I mean, how can you prove you got “donations” at $1000 a day when it was actually $2000 if all you have are cash transactions? You can’t, so they pocket the difference.

        I don’t have proof of this, but with so many of them getting shut down, I’m sure there’s plenty of proof that the police are finding extra cash on hand.

        • avatar
          criminalminds June 7, 2012 at 11:55 am #

          So you’re saying you have no evidence and are just speculating? That’s a mighty small burden of proof you have there. And do you think getting a credit account for a medical marijuana dispensary is easy or even possible in most cases?

          • avatar
            testaccountdontuse June 7, 2012 at 11:59 am #

            Please, I’ve seen plenty of dispensaries that allow credit cards. There’s even an option for it when you search on this site, so it must certainly be possible. And I just Googled for a minute, and here’s what I found:


            The main problem is regulation. Colorado doesn’t have these kinds of issues, as far as I know. California’s complete lack of leadership in trying to regulate the industry has caused it to become a joke.

          • avatar
            kaylene June 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

            Many dispensaries (ecspecially the ones acting in accordance to state law) do accept credit cards. I think because dispensaries in general are still developing, it’s just easier to deal with cash. However I don’t doubt some places are withholding tax $, I’ve known some places to get shut down for it. I would say they may not want to pay for a credit card system but most places have an ATM availible. I would like to see more places that accept cards tho cause I hardly have cash :(

          • avatar
            frigidaire June 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

            I like where this discussion is going. I see both viewpoints. Not all collectives are the same and it’s unfair to say it is.

            People forget that some of the medication is on consignment. Maybe most growers rather have cash? Sometimes, the collective don’t even set their own prices. The price may cover the break down cost of a gram and all the things that is need to make it grow. Oh, not to mention…the employees, rent, water and power,fixtures, jars, POS system, credit card machine, accessories, etc.

            I’ve seen collectives with grant programs to help people who are severely or terminally ill.

            But then again, there are crooked ass collectives too.

          • avatar
            USCMom June 7, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

            This is going to be a 50/50 for me

  9. avatar
    JT101 June 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    I don’t think you can judge a crime rate by a type of business. The crime rate is more defined by the location, owners, workers and customers.

    But I would think the crime would go down in the area with a Marijuana dispensary. You would have people able to get there meds not be suffering in pain and just be a bit more mellow..

  10. avatar
    Fifth Column June 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    You know some banks refuse to accept charges from disp.

    • avatar
      Dex212 June 8, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

      What? Can they even do that? That’s f**ed up!!

  11. avatar
    mcmj420 June 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    I agree criminals are everywhere. There main head quarters is in DC!!!

    • avatar
      SuccessfulSmoker June 8, 2012 at 12:07 am #

      DC is going to be an interesting to place to see how their medical program works out. Next dispensaries will be the cause of crime in DC…

    • avatar
      NoScaryBusiness June 8, 2012 at 12:18 am #

      I wouldn’t quite say DC is the headquarters, many other places with scary business…

  12. avatar
    CaGuy209 June 7, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    I love the Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity!!!

    • avatar
      frigidaire June 7, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

      Lol, that’s good to know.

  13. avatar
    U WANNA BE ME June 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    If more people would follow the Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. We be more advance not just technology but also humanity.

    • avatar
      USCMom June 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

      Agree, but then again I haven’t contributed much.

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