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California neighborhoods where cannabis retailers are located tend to have higher proportions of Hispanic and Black residents, and lower proportions of whites, while also being poorer than those areas without such retailers. That’s according to a new study co-authored by researchers from the KSOM Department of Preventive Medicine and USC Dornsife’s Spatial Sciences Institute and published in the September issue of Preventive Medicine Reports.
The research shows that “minority populations in California are disproportionately exposed to unlicensed cannabis retailers,” the authors wrote. The study examined areas where both licensed and unlicensed retailers are located. Overall, neighborhoods served by any retailer represented 42% of the state’s population.
Recreational use of cannabis by adults became legal in California in 2016, and state and local licenses were issued starting in 2018. Only 20% of California cities allow retail sales, but according to the study’s findings, a thriving black market exists where unlicensed cannabis retailers operate.
Published: August 25, 2020
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