In the USA, the prevalence of marijuana use is high among both adolescents and adults.
In 2013, an estimated 19.8 million people older than 12 years were marijuana users.
Accounting for 7.5% of the population in the age group.
Marijuana use has influenced the neighborhood physically, economically, and socially. Since 1996, 23 states and Washington DC have adopted policies to legalize marijuana for medical use. Recently, recreational marijuana use has been legal in 4 states and Washington DC.
These legal and policy changes have dramatically changed the neighborhood environments for marijuana use.
This provides legal access to marijuana and potentially modify social norms related to marijuana use within the neighborhood.
California has always been a friendly state and welcomes everyone from all locations
The prevalence of marijuana use and abuse is not homogeneous.
Demographically and socioeconomically vulnerable populations are at higher risks of using or abusing marijuana.
For example, people who are younger, racial and ethnic minorities, having low income, less educated, and living in urban and disordered areas had higher proportions of marijuana use and marijuana use disorders [5, 6].
If demographically and socioeconomically vulnerable neighborhoods had a greater availability of marijuana stores.
The availability of marijuana stores around schools is also of public health concern.
As suggested by literature on tobacco and alcohol [7–10], close proximity of marijuana stores to schools may increase the risks of marijuana use among adolescents who are at a particularly high risk of developing marijuana use disorders and other negative health consequences . Currently, Colorado has zoning regulations that keep marijuana stores 1,000 feet from schools.
However, stores may still locate within walking distance beyond the 1,000-feet limit. It remains unknown to what extent stores locate within walkable distance that adolescents can easily reach.
The cannabis association between the availability of cannabis stores in neighborhood characteristics has evaluated cities in California and Colorado.
Evidence from California suggested that medical marijuana stores were more likely to be located in areas with higher proportion of Hispanic residents and higher density of alcohol outlets and higher rates of poverty and primarily zoned as commercial [4, 12, 13].
Although the availability of medical marijuana stores in Denver, Colorado, did not differ by neighborhood minority composition or poverty status, it was associated with higher crime rates .
It also assessed marijuana store locations by distance to schools.
The population size of a census tract generally ranges between 1200 and 8000 and population characteristics and socioeconomic status within a census tract are relatively homogeneous .
The outcome variables included binary indicators to represent whether or not a census tract had any marijuana stores.
We obtained directories of licensed marijuana stores from the Enforcement Division.
Colorado Department of Revenue, which provided detailed physical addresses for all medical and recreational marijuana stores as of August, 2015.
There has been comparison census tract characteristics by the availability of marijuana stores and conducted t-test to test between-group differences.
The marijuana community plotted the counts of marijuana stores by store types.
We found some spatial autocorrelation between the census tracts in terms of the availability of marijuana stores (Moran’s I = 0.099, p < 0.001).
Therefore assessed the associations between the availability of marijuana stores.
and neighborhood characteristics by multivariate auto logistic regressions to account for spatial autocorrelation.
The auto logistic analyses were estimated using R packages . p values smaller than 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
3.1. Descriptive Statistics
Figure 1 illustrated the geographic distribution of marijuana stores in Colorado regardless of store types.
Figure 2 plotted the statistical distribution of the count of marijuana stores. Out of 1,249 census tracts, 289 or 23.14% had at least one marijuana store available regardless of store types; 242 census tracts had at least one medical marijuana store; and 193 census tracts had at least one recreational marijuana store.