Most people with personal experience using marijuana recognize the absurdity of the claim that smoking pot can turn ordinary folks into criminals. But the possibility still lingers in some Americans’ minds — as demonstrated by the media coverage of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, whose body was found to contain marijuana after his death. Martin, who was black, was shot to death by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch volunteer who put forth Martin’s possible drug use to suggest it made the teen violent and justified his killing.
A recent study of medical-marijuana dispensaries should help put this canard connecting marijuana and crime to rest. Like previous studies, it found no association between the number of dispensaries in a neighborhood and rates of violent crime or property crime.
The number of outlets that sell alcohol in an area, however — even after controlling for demographic factors and poverty — is consistently linked with rates of violent crime, according to the research.