Societal Impacts of Cannabis Dispensaries/Retailers

Retail cannabis facilities are not positively associated with increased criminality

By contrast, dispensary closures are associated with increases in crime

  • "The results presented above show that temporary dispensary closures increase crime in the short-run. ... Analyzing medical marijuana dispensary closures in the City of Los Angeles, we find no support for the idea that closing dispensaries reduces crime. Rather, temporary closures deter some types of Part I crime. ... Our findings have direct policy implications for regulating marijuana sales in the U.S. They imply that dispensary closures, and potentially the closure of other types of retails establishments, exert a significant negative externality in terms of neighborhood criminality. A quick back of the envelope cost calculation using the change in larceny theft at 1/3 of a mile and crime costs ... suggests that an open dispensary provides over $30,000 per year in social benefit in terms of larcenies prevented."

Retail cannabis facilities are associated with rising housing values

  • "In this paper we contribute to the debate on the impacts of recreational marijuana legalization on local communities by examining the effects of retail marijuana stores on nearby house prices in Denver, Colorado. ... Using a difference-in-differences model, we compare houses that are in close proximity to a retail conversion to those that are slightly farther away from a retail conversion before and after the legalization of recreational sales. We find that after the law went into effect at the end of 2013, single family residences close to a retail conversion (within 0.1 miles) increased in value by approximately 8.4% relative to houses that are located slightly farther from a conversion (between 0.1 miles and 0.25 miles) in 2014 compared to the previous year."
  • "Does legalizing retail marijuana generate more benefits than costs? This paper addresses this question by measuring the benefits and costs that are capitalized into housing values. We exploit the time-series and cross-sectional variations in the adoption of Colorado's municipality retail marijuana laws (RMLs) and examine the effect on housing values with a difference-in-differences strategy. Our estimates show that the legalization leads to an average 6 percent increase in housing values, indicating that the capitalized benefits outweigh the costs. ... In conclusion, this paper provides convincing causal evidence that legalizing retail marijuana generates net benefits, as measured through the housing market."

Dispensary cliental tend to be older, value access to specific strains of cannabis, and tend to require greater quantities of cannabis to treat their therapeutic condition

  • "Regarding age, respondents who used dispensaries were older than those not using dispensaries, perhaps reflecting that services that these dispensaries provide, such as storefront access and personalized service, may be particularly appealing to older adults. ... A larger proportion of dispensary clients considered access to their preferred strain to be important than those not using dispensaries. ... With regard to cannabis use, dispensary users were more likely to use larger amounts of cannabis. ... [D]ispensaries were widely used and well rated by respondents. Given this high level of endorsement by patients, future regulations should consider including storefront dispensaries as an authorized source of cannabis for therapeutic purposes."

The prevalence of cannabis dispensaries is not positively associated with increased teen use

Cannabis retailers are not selling to minors and their products are not being diverted to the underage market

Retail cannabis access is associated with reduced opioid consumption by the general public

  • "[S]tates providing legal access to marijuana through dispensaries reduce deaths due to opioid overdoses. ... We provide complementary evidence that dispensary provisions lower treatment admissions for addiction to pain medications. ... In short, our findings that legally protected and operating medical marijuana dispensaries reduce opioid-related harms suggests that some individuals may be substituting towards marijuana, reducing the quantity of opioids they consume or forgoing initiation of opiates altogether. ... At a minimum, however, our results suggest a potential overlooked positive effect of medical marijuana laws that support meaningful retail sales."
  • "This paper uses a unique marijuana dispensary dataset to exploit within- and across-state variation in dispensary openings to estimate the effect increased access to marijuana has on narcotic-related admissions to treatment facilities and drug-induced mortalities. [It] finds that core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) with dispensary openings experience a 20 percentage point relative decrease in painkiller treatment admissions over the first two years of dispensary operations ... [and] provides suggestive evidence that dispensary operations negatively affect drug-induced mortality rates."
  • "Using both standard differences-in-differences models as well as synthetic control models, we find that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not."

The prevalence of cannabis dispensaries is inversely associated with traffic fatalities