When a state legalizes cannabis, local municipal officials are put in a tough spot. They have the power to allow or prohibit cannabis stores from opening in their jurisdiction. It’s done through property zoning.
When the issue comes up for vote, the discussion is often dominated by imagined fears. Law enforcement leaders warn about crime increases. Parents worry about their kids having easier access to cannabis. Real estate agents forecast doom for any neighborhood surrounding a cannabis store. Pew Research has found a 25 point gap between support for legalization (75%), and support for a store nearby (50%).
A review of the research finds that cannabis dispensaries improve public safety, health, and nearby property values—contrary to previous fears.
All too often, the result is a complete ban on cannabis stores—which has the unintentional effect of propping up the local illicit market. Here’s the rub: Cannabis stores actually improve public safety, health, and property values. The research proves it.
In a review of 42 key studies, Leafly’s team of data analysts, researchers, and editors found that the broad body of published research suggests crime near licensed dispensaries has generally stayed flat or decreased. Teen cannabis use in legalization states has fallen since legalization. And property values near cannabis outlets generally are not affected or even rise.