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A Spatiotemporal Analysis of the Association of California City and County Cannabis Policies with Cannabis Outlet Densities.

  • Matthay, Ellicott C
  • Mousli, Leyla
  • Ponicki, William R
  • Glymour, M Maria
  • Apollonio, Dorie E
  • Schmidt, Laura A
  • Gruenewald, Paul
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2022
eScholarship - University of California
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BackgroundCannabis outlets may affect health and health disparities. Local governments can regulate outlets, but little is known about the effectiveness of local policies in limiting outlet densities and discouraging disproportionate placement of outlets in vulnerable neighborhoods.MethodsFor 241 localities in California, we measured seven policies pertaining to density or location of recreational cannabis outlets. We geocoded outlets using web-scraped data from the online finder Weedmaps between 2018 and 2020. We applied Bayesian spatiotemporal models to evaluate associations of local cannabis policies with Census block group-level outlet counts, accounting for confounders and spatial autocorrelation. We assessed whether associations differed by block group median income or racial-ethnic composition.ResultsSeventy-six percent of localities banned recreational cannabis outlets. Bans were associated with fewer outlets, particularly in block groups with higher median income, fewer Hispanic residents, and more White and Asian residents. Outlets were disproportionately located in block groups with lower median income [posterior RR (95% credible interval): 0.76 (0.70, 0.82) per $10,000], more Hispanic residents [1.05 (1.02, 1.09) per 5%], and fewer Black residents [0.91 (0.83, 0.98) per 5%]. For the six policies in jurisdictions permitting outlets, two policies were associated with fewer outlets and two with more; two policy associations were uninformative. For these policies, we observed no consistent heterogeneity in associations by median income or racial-ethnic composition.ConclusionsSome local cannabis policies in California are associated with lower cannabis outlet densities, but are unlikely to deter disproportionate placement of outlets in racial-ethnic minority and low-income neighborhoods.

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