COLORADO: Municipal zoning regulations may push marijuana dispensaries into low income, minority areas, according to a study just released by the University of Colorado Denver.
Published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, the leading professional and academic planning resource, the study shows that government regulations will likely cause an inequitable distribution of marijuana business throughout the city. Though the impact of dispensaries to the neighborhoods in which they are located has yet to be understood, the research is clear that the majority of allowable land for marijuana business
is in the city’s poorest and most ethnically and racially diverse areas.
Witnessing the marijuana industry boom in Colorado, Jeremy Németh, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Planning and Design at the College of Architecture and Planning, and former graduate student Eric Ross conducted research to determine if government zoning regulations lead to inequality in the areas of the city where marijuana dispensaries are allowed to locate.
“Though technically medical marijuana dispensaries provide a healthcare service, they have historically been required to adopt the same zoning restrictions as businesses that sell alcohol, pornography, and firearms,” said Németh. “Generally, stores that sell these types of ‘vices’ are prohibited from locating in residential or mixed-use neighborhoods and are pushed into much less affluent neighborhoods.”