For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Use of a National Retail Database to Describe Marijuana Dispensary Location and Equity

Green cross sign indicating cannabis dispensary


This project seeks to develop a nationwide database of marijuana dispensaries across the continental United States and understand spatial patterning of cannabis retail locations. Our main objective is to understand where marijuana dispensaries, specifically related to the relationship between the locations of dispensaries and the sociodemographics of the neighborhoods where they are located. Our long-term goal is to find ways in which marginalized communities are not further disadvantaged by drug policies as legalization continues to expand. The development of this database will allow us to compare patterns of marijuana dispensaries on a nationwide scale for the first time and bring them into concert with other established patterns around alcohol and tobacco sales. This database will also allow future research groups to leverage these data for their research questions.


Drexel University Medical Cannabis Research Center

Research Methods

Aim 1: Create national, longitudinal metrics of access to marijuana dispensaries annually from 2013-2019 for a tract- and county-level data repository. To accomplish this aim, we will acquire data for the locations of dispensaries from NETS and state databases for marijuana dispensary licenses. For demographic data, we will acquire tract- and county level data from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2011-2015 5-year estimates. Aim 2: Assess the accuracy of NETS for measuring marijuana locations compared to state or local databases. Aim 3: Evaluate equity and disparities in the locations of dispensaries by racial composition and socioeconomic factors.


Research Team