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The Impact of Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries on Crime: Evidence from a Lottery Experiment

Xiuming Dong () and Justin Tyndall ()
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Xiuming Dong: Department of Economics, University of Auckland

No 2021-1, Working Papers from University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Abstract: Many North American jurisdictions have legalized the operation of recreational marijuana dispensaries. A common concern is that dispensaries may contribute to local crime. Identifying the effect of dispensaries on crime is confounded by the spatial endogeneity of dispensary locations. Washington state allocated dispensary licenses through a lottery, providing a natural experiment to estimate the causal effect of dispensaries on crime. Combining lottery data with detailed geocoded crime data, we estimate that the presence of a dispensary has no impact on average local crime rates. However, within low-income neighborhoods, we find an increase in property crime adjacent to new dispensaries.

Keywords: recreational marijuana dispensaries; crime; dispensary opening (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K23 K42 R38 R50 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36 pages
Date: 2021-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law and nep-ure
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https://uhero.hawaii.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/UHEROwp2101.pdf First version, 2021 (application/pdf)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hae:wpaper:2021-1

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