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“It is the number and density of outlets that is important, not whether they are medical or recreational,” Freisthler said.
Last year, Freisthler and her colleagues published a study from Long Beach, Calif., that also found property and violent crime increased in neighborhoods adjacent to marijuana outlets. Why isn’t crime increasing right nearby the outlets? Freisthler said it’s likely because the outlets have security guards and cameras.
“There are definitely negative public health consequences, including increased crime,” she said in a written statement. “There may be economic benefits in terms of more tax revenue and money spent in neighborhoods. Citizens have to decide how they want to measure the benefits and costs.”
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The study comes as Ohio establishes its legal medical marijuana program.
Ohio legalized medical marijuana last June when Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law that authorizes use by patients with 21 conditions, including cancer or chronic pain, in the form of edibles, oils, patches and vaporizing. Smoking or home growing it is barred.
The program is being established and regulated by three state agencies: Board of Pharmacy, Department of Commerce and State Medical Board.