When Michigan voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana back in November of 2018, many assumed they’d have access to cannabis right in their own backyard.

But old-school conservative thinking soon reared its head.

So it didn’t take long for many community leaders to opt out of having dispensaries in their communities for fear of increased crimes rates and teen use, as well as decreased property values.

Fortunately, a new study debunks this.

Despite all of these fears, the study shows how cannabis shops help neighborhoods.

And in more ways than one.

Researchers Take a Closer Look

Curious about just how realistic these fears were, researchers at Leafly took it upon themselves to review all of the available evidence.

What they found was that communities that have cannabis dispensaries experience lower crime, a decline in teen use and an increase in property values.

Go figure.

And this comes from data based on five years of recreational sales in Colorado and Washington, and 15 years of medical cannabis sales in California.

Yet it seems that many community leaders are making decisions based on antiquated thinking. In most cases when city officials sit down to discuss the issue, this data is simply not considered.

And with no dispensaries within their borders, many citizens who voted to legalize marijuana are now wondering how far they’ll have to go to get marijuana.

Setting out to Further Debunk the Myth

Inspired by what Leafly’s research found, Green Entrepreneur dug in and focused on 42 of those research papers that directly dealt with this issue.

They created a report called Debunking Dispensary Myths. And what did they find?

Turns out that an overwhelming majority of current research suggests that allowing regulated dispensaries actually improves community safety and health, and boosts property values.

It really shouldn’t come as any surprise.

In places where retail cannabis stores are allowed, there is plenty of evidence of neighborhoods embracing local shops.

The REEF in Detroit is one such place. Located in a transitional neighborhood on 8 Mile Road, they’re not only a lawful enterprise, but they’re tremendously community-minded and have built a reputation on giving back.

Plus, because of their positive reputation, they’re drawing more people into the neighborhood and giving it new vibrancy.

Another dispensary in San Francisco puts community accountability at the top of their list of responsibilities. They’ve invested in better street lighting, and made their camera system available to the local police station.

In their six years of operation, the store has never been robbed or targeted for any other crime. They even “adopted” an entire city block where staff members clean the street and plant new flowers every spring.

Were residents in these Detroit and San Francisco neighborhoods skeptical at first? Sure. But in both cases, these businesses did a lot to improve their communities.

And these aren’t isolated stories.

The vast bulk of the data shows that licensed cannabis dispensaries have a positive impact on the communities where they’re established. And this data is backed by accounts from law enforcement, civic leadership and local regulators.

How Cannabis Shops Help Neighborhoods

Here is what the report found:

A 2018 study in Contemporary Economic Policy found that introducing a new dispensary within a half‐mile radius of a new home increases home prices by approximately 7.7% on average.

Twelve of the 16 studies on cannabis retail’s effect on crime, including those in Preventative Medicine and the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, indicate that licensed cannabis retail is associated with reductions in crime.

Studies published in JAMA Pediatrics and by the health departments of the states of Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California, showed that
teen use had gone down in legalization states.

And in 4 of the 6 studies on property values, including those from the journals of Urban Geography and Economic Inquiry, they found that property values rose near licensed adult stores. This also extended overall to cities that chose to regulate pot retail rather than ban it.

Embrace New Business

It seems pretty clear how cannabis shops help neighborhoods.

Aside from helping communities grow and thrive, they provide jobs and allow adults to purchase legally.

Because the truth is, when officials make the decision to keep cannabis out of their neighborhoods, they’re just strengthening the local black market.

And if they think there’s no illicit market in their neighborhood, they’re sadly mistaken.

To stay current on the latest in the cannabis industry in Michigan and beyond, keep checking back with our blog.