Cannabis retailers drive economic growth, not crime, recent California study finds


Often, those who oppose adult cannabis use argue that its legalization will trigger an increase in crime rates. However, According to a recent analysis commissioned by the city of Sacramento, California, licensed cannabis companies drive economic growth and are not magnets for crimereports NORML.

“Consistent with previous studies, investigators reported that homes near marijuana outlets experienced a greater increase in value than other residences in the city. The authors also rejected the claim that marijuana retailers were associated with a high risk of criminal activity,” NORML said in a press release. “Between 2018 and 2021, less than one percent of all robberies and burglaries reported to the Sacramento Police Department were associated with the cannabis trade, according to the report.”

Contrary to popular belief retail cannabis as a potential contributor to social unrest and crime, the analyst behind the study found the opposite. Cannabis has tangible effects on the local economy by accelerating the process of job creation and, therefore, socio-economic inclusion.

NORML reported that the cannabis industry is the ninth largest employer in Sacramento. The researchers concluded that the cannabis industry “is responsible for nearly 8,000 jobs across the city.”

Commenting on the findings of the study, the Deputy Director of NORML Paul Armentano said: “These findings should alleviate the concerns of local officials who have been reluctant to enact cannabis market regulation. Licensed cannabis retailers are good neighbours, driving economic growth and redirecting taxpayer dollars to the local community. It makes no sense, either from an economic or a public health point of view, to ban these companies or to relegate the cannabis trade only to those operating in the unregulated market.

According to data compiled in February by and Whitney Economics, the state-licensed cannabis industry added more than 100,000 new jobs in 2021 and now employs more than 428,000 full-time workers.

The Positive Effects of Retail Cannabis on Housing Prices

Retail cannabis can spur an economic revival of urban areas. In 2019, researchers studying the effects of marijuana legalization and retail dispensaries on neighborhood crime in Denver, CO, found results that imply that “one additional dispensary in a neighborhood leads to a reduction in 17 crimes per month per 10,000 population, which is about a 19% drop from the average crime rate over the sample period.

In 2020, NORML reported that the enactment of statewide policies regulating adult-use marijuana sales is associated with an increase in home values, according to data released by a team of economists from the United States. University of Oklahoma. Investigators assessed the relationship between cannabis legalization and regional household values. They identified “a significant positive ripple effect on the housing market after legalization”. “A 5% appreciation in house prices after the passage of the RMLs (Recreational Marijuana Laws) and an 11% appreciation once sales of marijuana products began,” the researchers added.
“[The] the results suggest that preferences for public services—derived from a new source of tax revenue—and dispensaries as a business amenity create largely positive effects following the legalization of recreational marijuana,” the authors concluded.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.


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