International Journal of Drug Policy - 2014

Volume 25 Issue 3 May 2014

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514 C. Morrison et al. / International Journal of Drug Policy 25 (2014) 508–515 are affected by the modifiable area unit problem (Openshaw, 1984) and aggregation bias (Hodgson, Shmulevitz, & Körkel, 1997). Our exclusion of the most populous California cities meant we omitted the areas with the greatest numbers of dispensaries (e.g. the City of Los Angeles). The associations we observed between dispensaries and higher alcohol outlet density and lower population density may be artifacts of zoning restrictions, which we were not able to adjust for in our analyses. Despite these limitations, our findings have implications for policy. Cannabis dispensaries are spatially related to market poten- tial. Jurisdictions that wish to avoid having new dispensaries (and therefore minimize any possible adverse effects associated with their operations) should actively prevent their establishment. If dispensaries are found to cause problems for local populations, the state, county and city regulators should ensure that communities with fewer resources (e.g. those with low incomes, unincorporated areas) are not burdened with disproportionately large numbers that service demand from both local and neighboring areas. Nev- ertheless, the uncertain regulatory environment and competition with a parallel black market means the industry will likely be in a constant state of change, and the consequences of such intervention should be carefully considered. One clear example (and a limita- tion of the current study) is the recent emergence of home delivery services: an innovative means of circumventing city ordinances that prohibit cannabis dispensaries from operating from shop-front stores. Future longitudinal research would permit investigation of such social, political and economic dynamics as medical cannabis markets mature, and should clarify whether dispensaries indeed cause problems for the communities in which they are located. Acknowledgments This research was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Grant R01-DA-032715 and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Center Grant P60-AA006282. Conflict of interest None declared. References American Association for Public Opinion Research. (2002). Standard definitions: Final dispositions of case codes and outcome rates for surveys. Ann Arbor, MI: American Association for Public Opinion Research. Aoyama, Y., Murphy, J. T., & Hanson, S. (2011). Key concepts in economic geography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Banerjee, A., LaScala, E., Gruenewald, P., Freisthler, B., Treno, A., & Remer, L. (2008). Social disorganization, alcohol and drug markets, and violence. In Y. F. Thomas, D. 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