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A Block-Level Analysis of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Crime in the City of Los Angeles

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 34 Issue: 6 Dated: 2017 Pages: 1069-1095
Date Published
27 pages

This project fills an important gap in the scant literature on medical marijuana dispensaries and neighborhood crime rates by integrating perspectives from environmental criminology and social organization theories in investigating the dispensary-crime nexus through interaction models and flexibly assessing Los Angeles’ dispensaries’ relationship to crime at different spatial scales.



This study found the placement of a medical marijuana dispensary in the previous year to be associated with crime rate change, in both the block and the surrounding area, over and above predictor variables drawn from social organization theory. This study’s interaction models suggest that marijuana dispensaries may increase crime rates on socially organized blocks, with such blocks potentially experiencing a slight perturbation in their ecological continuity from a dispensary’s establishment. (Publisher abstract provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2017