Study Shows Denvers Marijuana Shops Arent Increasing Neighborhood Crime

Dated: 06/17/2014

Views: 1229

When recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado, many wondered what kind of impact the decision would have on Denver neighborhoods. In addition to bringing in a tremendous amount of tax revenue to the state, a recent study has found that the presence of pot shops in neighborhoods so far seems have minimal impact and isn’t increasing crime in the area.

The study, which is slated to appear in the Urban Geography Journal, analyzed whether pot shops are so-called “locally undesirable land uses” or LULUs. Locally undesirable land uses are classified as those that could negatively environmental justice and increase health problems for disadvantaged people.
Paul Stretesky, one of the authors of the study and professor at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs, noted that while many people believe marijuana retailers are undesirable and ruining neighborhoods, it’s certainly not showing up in the data.
The results of the study show that while pot shops tend to be located in higher crime neighborhoods, they don’t seem to actually cause higher crime. They also occupy areas that already have many retail shops, which could also be a factor in reducing neighborhood impacts.

The study analyzed the impacts of 275 medical marijuana facilities in 75 Denver neighborhoods. The study authors compared demographic characteristics of the neighborhoods based on Census data from 2000 — before Denver had any pot shops — to 2010. The explosion in medical marijuana shops began in 2009 and while crime doesn’t seem to be on the rise, it may be too soon to know how or if shops will change neighborhoods.

Data in report only took into consideration medical marijuana shops and did not consider the effects of recreational pot shops, which began opening in January of this year after Colorado voters approved a measure to allow recreational shops similar to liquor stores for people ages 21 and over. 

Ken Blevins

Ken Blevins, Chief Executive Officer of Metrowest Real Estate Services, is a veteran in mortgage and default servicing with more than 23 years of experience in collections, foreclosure/bankruptcy, los....

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