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Police will watch medical-pot dispensaries closely

PHOENIX — Agencies that will oversee medical marijuana in Arizona said they’re going to keep an eye on crime around the over 100 dispensaries.

While drug dispensaries in Europe have developed a reputation for being a breeding ground for criminal networks, a new study claimed the same isn’t happening in California.

The UCLA study of 40 dispensaries in Sacramento found that marijuana clinics did not impact crime in the surrounding neighborhood, though it said more study is needed.

Harmony Dupont of the Arizona Department of Health Services said dispensaries in the state will have to be completely enclosed and meet several security standards.

“They need to have an electronic-monitoring system, panic buttons, exterior lighting and any other security measures that would prevent unauthorized access into the dispensary,” she said.

Dupont said that the dispensaries are not required to have a security guard on the premises, but that several of those who have applied for permits said they will hire security.

Phoenix police said they’re concerned and will take appropriate measures if they see an increase in crime around a dispensary.