Debunking the Myth: Cannabis Dispensaries Are Unsafe and Attract Crime

Separating Fact from Fiction: Cannabis Dispensaries and Community Safety

As a leading cannabis dispensary with four locations across Southern California, MMD Shops has been serving customers since 2006. Over the years, we’ve encountered numerous misconceptions about the cannabis industry, and today we’re tackling a persistent myth: the belief that cannabis dispensaries are unsafe and attract crime to neighborhoods.

The Myth

Some people argue that opening a cannabis dispensary in a neighborhood will lead to increased criminal activity and make the area less safe for residents. This misconception often stems from outdated stereotypes and misinformation about cannabis users and the regulated cannabis industry.

The Reality

Contrary to this belief, research and real-world evidence suggest that legal cannabis dispensaries often have a neutral or even positive impact on neighborhood safety. Here’s why:

  • Strict Security Measures: Licensed dispensaries like MMD Shops implement rigorous security protocols, including surveillance systems, security personnel, and controlled access. These measures often deter criminal activity in the immediate vicinity.
  • Reduced Illegal Market Activity: Legal dispensaries provide a safe, regulated alternative to the illegal cannabis market, potentially reducing street-level drug transactions and associated crimes.
  • Economic Benefits: Cannabis businesses can contribute to local economies, creating jobs and increasing foot traffic for nearby businesses, which can lead to improved neighborhood vitality and safety.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Licensed dispensaries must adhere to strict state and local regulations, ensuring responsible operations and community integration.

The Evidence

Several studies have examined the impact of cannabis dispensaries on crime rates:

1. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Urban Economics found no increase in crime rates following the opening of dispensaries in Denver, Colorado.

2. Research from the University of California, Irvine, suggested that the closure of dispensaries in Los Angeles led to an increase in crime in the surrounding areas.

3. A study in the Journal of Regional Science and Urban Economics found that crime actually decreased in the immediate vicinity of dispensaries in Denver.

MMD Shops: Committed to Community Safety

At MMD Shops, we take our responsibility to the community seriously. Our dispensaries in Hollywood, North Hollywood, Marina Del Rey, and Long Beach are designed to be safe, welcoming spaces for both cannabis enthusiasts and curious newcomers alike.

We work closely with local law enforcement, community leaders, and neighbors to ensure our presence positively impacts the areas we serve. Our commitment to safety, compliance, and community engagement has helped us build strong relationships in the neighborhoods we call home.


The myth that cannabis dispensaries are unsafe and attract crime is not supported by evidence. Instead, well-regulated dispensaries like MMD Shops often contribute to safer, more vibrant communities. As the cannabis industry continues to evolve and mature, it’s crucial to separate fact from fiction and base our opinions on real-world data and experiences.

If you’re in Southern California and looking for a safe, legal, and welcoming cannabis dispensary, we invite you to visit one of our four locations. Experience firsthand how MMD Shops is working to change perceptions and elevate the cannabis retail experience.