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Legal access to marijuana through medical cannabis dispensaries is not independently associated with elevated rates of child abuse or neglect, according to a new study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. The study is titled Medical marijuana dispensaries and referrals for child maltreatment investigations.


For the study researchers examined the relationship between the geographic density of medical cannabis dispensaries and alcohol retailers and rates of child welfare investigations in Los Angeles County. According to the study, on the contrary, alcohol outlet density was independently related to a greater number of child welfare referrals, whereas the prevalence of medical marijuana facilities was not.

“Neither measure for density of medical marijuana dispensaries was related to child maltreatment referrals,” authors concluded. They cautioned, however, “Although this study does not find a relationship between medical marijuana dispensaries and referrals for investigations of child maltreatment, it should not be considered a definitive finding of this relationship. The increasing number of states that are allowing marijuana to be used for medical and recreational purposes is resulting in more people using the drug and the effects on parenting are still unknown.”

The full abstract can be found below:

The changing legal status of marijuana in the United States has increased access to the drug through medical marijuana dispensaries. Limited research exists that examines the effects of these dispensaries on social problems including child maltreatment. The current study examines how medical marijuana dispensaries may affect referrals for child abuse and neglect investigations. Data are analyzed from 2,342 Census tracts in Los Angeles County, California. Locations of medical marijuana dispensaries were obtained through Weedmaps.com . Using conditionally autoregressive models, local and spatially lagged dispensaries show a positive relationship to rates of referrals in the unadjusted models. However, when we adjust for alcohol outlet density and measures of social disorganization, this relationship is no longer significant. Although this study does not find a relationship between medical marijuana dispensaries and referrals for investigations of child maltreatment, it should not be considered a definitive finding of this relationship. The increasing number of states that are allowing marijuana to be used for medical and recreational purposes is resulting in more people using the drug and the effects on parenting are still unknown.

The post Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Not Associated With Increased Child Maltreatment, Finds Study appeared first on TheJointBlog.



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