Local officials and law enforcers often have fears that allowing legal cannabis shops to operate within their jurisdictions will have detrimental effects. Some people fear that allowing pot shops in their neighborhood will increase violent crime rates, allow young people easier access to the drug and lower the property value of surrounding homes.
But is any of that true?
To find out, Leafly recently teamed up with Humboldt State University to assess some of the most persistent myths around what happens when legal marijuana dispensaries open up in communities.
After pulling data from 42 key studies, Leafly editors David Downs and Bruce Barcott and cannabis policy expert Dominic Corva of Humboldt State found that numerous fears about dispensaries are unfounded. For instance, in many cases, the presence of legal cannabis stores is actually associated with a decrease in crime rates in the immediate area. Increased rates of crime in a neighborhood after a dispensary is opened is the exception to the rule, not the norm.
The findings were similar surrounding teen cannabis consumption as well. Marijuana use among young people either stayed the same or decreased in areas that have legal cannabis retailers.
The one place where we do actually see an increase is property values. That's right: being in a neighborhood with a cannabis dispensary can actually increase the value of your home by more than 5 percent. Not too shabby.
Leafly CEO Tim Leslie said he's hopefully their report will help local officials make more informed decisions around cannabis regulations in their areas
"We can all have different opinions, but we have to work from the same set of facts," said Leslie. "These discussions should be informed by the best available research, not imagined fears and archaic mythology."
If you're interested in digging in to the facts a little more, you can check out the whole report here. Here's hoping that this data will help bring cannabis shops at least to the folks who have already voted to legalize them.