retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece in the Chicago Tribune about the success that newly opened marijuana dispensaries are having in Illinois, with consumers "buying almost $40 million of marijuana in the first month of sales. Tax revenues from those sales, which haven’t been announced, will help the state and municipalities."

The good news:  "Marijuana’s legalization has created beneficiaries, as people travel to neighborhoods with dispensaries and spend money at nearby businesses. Although there are no numbers to demonstrate the broader economic impact of recreational weed sales, experts say pot shops have the potential to revitalize overlooked pockets in communities."

But … "not every neighborhood wants a pot shop, as evidenced by recent community meetings. There are 'NIMBYs,' or people who say they support marijuana in general, but 'not in my backyard.'  And some residents have broader safety concerns and worry about the rowdiness pot shops could attract … As cannabis companies rush to open additional stores — each of the 55 medical dispensaries that were operating before recreational sales started can apply to open a second location — they face zoning restrictions and competition for prime real estate."

However … "A 2019 study in the journal Regional Science and Urban Economics found that local criminal activity fell when a dispensary came into the neighborhood. The research analyzed monthly neighborhood crime of all types and patterns in retail dispensaries in Denver from 2013 through 2016.  'The results imply that an additional dispensary in a neighborhood leads to a reduction of 17 crimes per month per 10,000 residents, which corresponds to roughly a 19% decline relative to the average crime rate over the sample period,' the paper states."

Part of the reason may be that, for example, "Illinois requires dispensaries to have security inside and outside the store, including security surveillance monitoring equipment, security guards in stores and sufficient lighting around the premises."

KC's View:
  I'm generally not a NIMBY kind of guy, but I must admit to some level of sympathy to the attitude that wants to keep marijuana shops out of certain neighborhoods.  This probably is because I remain somewhat conflicted about the issue … which is ironic because in Portland, Oregon, where I spend my summers, it seems like the question is moot - there already are pot shops in most neighborhoods.