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Smoke and Mirrors? Examining the Relationship Between Medical Cannabis Dispensaries and Crime


Groups for and against medical cannibas dispensaries make conflicting claims that have significant implications for public health and safety, but have gone untested by scholarly analysis. Kintz’s project involved using sophisticated digital mapping tools and demographic data to examine whether and how these dispensaries might be related to crime rates in San Francisco neighborhoods. For his literature review, Kintz relied heavily on OskiCat and Melvyl to find books located in and outside of UC Berkeley’s collections, and a variety of online databases to locate scholarly articles. He worked closely with librarians in the Data Lab and Earth Sciences and Map Library to acquire data on San Francisco and guidance on using the tools required to map the data he found, which ultimately revealed a weak relationship between medical cannabis dispensaries and crime, casting doubt on the claim that the former are “magnets for criminal activity”. Prof. Bimes praised Kintz’s thesis, asserting that “it is both well-written and demonstrates deep engagement with a range of source materials.”

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