Crime - Citations

The Budgetary Effects of Ending Drug Prohibition

"Legalization can reduce government spending, which saves resources for other uses, and it generates tax revenue that transfers income from drug producers and consumers to public coffers." 

Four-in-ten U.S. drug arrests in 2018 were for marijuana offenses – mostly

"The FBI does not publish state-by-state data on marijuana arrests, but patterns differ somewhat by region. In the West, 15% of all drug arrests were for marijuana-related offenses in 2018, compared with around half in the Northeast (53%), Midwest (50%) and South (49%). Marijuana is legal for recreational use in six of 13 Western states – Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington – but there were fewer marijuana
arrests in the West even before the first state-approved recreational sales in the U.S. began in Colorado and Washington in 2012.

Aggressive Crime, Alcohol and Drug Use, and Concentrated
Poverty in 24 U.S. Urban Areas

"We find for a large national sample of arrestees that testing positive for illegal drug use is
negatively associated with aggressive crime and that, in contrast, self-reported frequent use
of alcohol has strong and robust positive effects. These results are consistent with our earlier
research in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, as well as European national-level studies of
aggressive behavior and substance use. The negative association of drug use on
aggressive crime supports the less popular notion that illegal drug-related violence has less
to do with intoxication (pharmacological) and possibly more with other factors. This confirms our hypothesis that social structural conditions of an urban environment differentially
expose persons to conditions that predict being arrested for an aggressive crime. Our findings tend to counter the cultural theorists who argue for an indigenous culture of violence in inner-city ghettos and barrios".

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, March 2019 

"We exploit the staggered legalization of recreational marijuana enacted by the adjacent states of Washington (end of 2012) and Oregon (end of 2014).Combining county-level difference-in-differences and spatial regression continuity designs, we find that the policy caused a significant reduction in rapes and property crimes on the Washington side of the border in 2013–2014 relative to the Oregon side and relative to the pre-legalization years 2010–2012. The legalization also increased consumption of marijuana and reduced consumption of other drugs and both ordinary and binge alcohol."

FBI Data 2008-2018 

Marijuana Arrests 185,108

North Carolina Criminal Law A UNC School of Government Blog

Periodically updated arrest data in North Carolina

National Hwy Traffic Safety Administration 4/2014

"Detection of total THC metabolites in urine, primarily THC-COOH-glucuronide, only indicates prior THC exposure."

Pew Research Center 1/22/2020

Drug arrests for cannabis is 40% of all drug arrests despite adult use legality in several states.

National Bureau OF Economics Research 3/2018 

"However, these early reports of steep increases in (driving accients) are confounded by a number of factors. We contribute to this discussion by using a synthetic control method to compare the outcomes in Washington and Colorado to other states with similar pre-legalization economic and traffic trends. We find the synthetic control groups saw similar increases despite not legalizing marijuana. Moreover, the p-values suggest that the deviations Colorado and Washington did show from their synthetic counterparts are well with the range of deviations seen due to year to year variation."

Cost of Prison Incarceration for fiscal year ending June 30, 2018

Minimum Custody $86.92 $31,726.

Association of Medical and Adult-Use Marijuana LawsWith Opioid Prescribing for Medicaid Enrollees

Reduce Medicaid cost of prescription. "The potential of marijuana liberalization to reduce the use and consequences of prescription opioids among Medicaid enrollees deserves consideration during the policy discussions about marijuana reform and the opioid epidemic."

Medical Marijuana Laws May Be Associated With A Decline In The Number Of Prescriptions For Medicaid Enrollees

These results are similar to those in a previous study we conducted, regarding the effects of medical marijuana laws on the number of prescriptions within the Medicare population. 

Cannabis Significantly Reduces the Use of Prescription Opioids and Improves Quality of Life in Authorized Patients: Results of a Large Prospective Study

"This study provides an individual-level perspective of cannabis substitution for opioids and other prescription drugs, as well as associated improvement in quality of life over 6 months. The high rate of cannabis use for chronic pain and the subsequent reductions in opioid use suggest that cannabis may play a harm reduction role in the opioid overdose crisis, potentially improving the quality of life of patients and overall public health." 

Draeger DrugTest 5000

Discussion about road side device that allows officers to test driver’s saliva for THC approved in Ottawa 2018.

ACLU War on Drugs 2013

North Carolina arrest rates black people is almost 4 times as white people although the cannabis use rate is the same.

After states legalized medical marijuana, traffic deaths fell Reuters Health 12/2016

“Instead of seeing an increase in fatalities, we saw a reduction, which was totally unexpected,” said Julian Santaella-Tenorio, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

How police forces will handle roadside testing for marijuana in Canada

"When marijuana becomes legal on Oct. 17, most police forces won’t be changing how they weed out stoned drivers."

Debunk the Myth: Legalization Causes More Traffic Accidents and Fatalities

Across the country, traffic fatalities declined from 15.86 per 100,000 population in 1996 (1st state legalized medical cannabis) to 11.59 in 2016 (most recent year available). not causation, but definitely not indicative of worsening traffic fatalities.

2018 FBI arrest statistics for NC

"In 2018, the FBI Arrest statistics for North Carolina are based on data received from 300 law enforcement agencies that submitted 12 months of arrest data of 565 total number of law enforcement agencies in the state that year."

Joint culpability: The effects of medical marijuana laws on crime

"Most U.S. states have passed medical marijuana laws. In this paper, we study the effects of these laws on violent and property crime."

Crime and the legalization of recreational marijuana

"First-pass evidence is provided that the legalization of the cannabis market across US states is inducing a crime drop."

Four-in-ten U.S.drug arrests in 2018 were for marijuana offenses

"A growing number of states have legalized or decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. But the drug remains illegal in other states and under federal law – and police officers in the United States still make more arrests for marijuana offenses than for any other drug, according to FBI data."

Clemency Is Needed For Incarcerated Cannabis Offenders Amid COVID-19

"Prisoners are sitting ducks amid the Novel Coronavirus pandemic."

Aggressive Crime, Alcohol and Drug Use, and Concentrated Poverty: American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse - 2007;33(4)

"While the association of alcohol, drug use, and violent crime enjoys a long research history, it is only in recent years that direct measures of this relationship (e.g., physical drug tests and officially known crimes) using large quantitative data sets have been available. These studies have found that alcohol is consistently linked to aggressive and violent behavior. In contrast, research on drug use and violence generally concludes, contrary to popular conceptions, that these relationships are unsystematic and/or weak."

NC Blacks are 3.4 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. Counties vary from 9.6x in Hoke to 1.9x in Wake. The report finds that between 2001 and 2010, there were over 8 million marijuana arrests in the United States, 88% of which were for possession. Marijuana arrests have increased between 2001 and 2010 and now account for over half (52%) of all drug arrests in the United States, and marijuana possession arrests account for nearly half (46%) of all drug arrests. In 2010, there was one marijuana arrest every 37 seconds, and states spent combined over $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws. Money spent enforcing marijuana possession in NC = $54,934,668.

How Do Police Officers Determine Marijuana Impairment in Drivers?: Reason Foundation - February 22, 2018

Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) are especially important in cases of marijuana-impaired drivers, because of the nature of marijuana itself. As with other drugs, marijuana impairment varies tremendously by individuals, even under the same dose. Marijuana does not break down in the body in a manner that correlates with psychoactivity of the drug (alcohol is the exception in this regard, not the norm), making chemical testing results of little use in determining impairment. In contrast, with few exceptions the signs and symptoms of marijuana ingestion that DREs evaluate will not appear when the drug is no longer psychoactive in a person's system, but can still appear in chemical testing for weeks after use. For these reasons, DREs evaluations are far more accurate in determining marijuana impairment in drivers, and police departments should make use of these highly trained officers, especially in states with legalized marijuana use.  

Evidence suggests that removing harsh penalties for non-violent drug offenses, such as marijuana possession, affects employment and earnings for those most likely to be arrested.

Initially developed to detect alcohol impairment in drivers, the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is currently being used by law enforcement to detect impairment due to drugs.

These findings provide support for the use of the SFST as a screening tool for law enforcement to identify impairment in persons who have used CNS stimulants, CNS depressants, cannabis, or narcotic analgesics.

"The central finding gleaned from the present study was that MML is not predictive of higher crime rates and may be related to reductions in rates of homicide and assault. Interestingly, robbery and burglary rates were unaffected by medicinal marijuana legislation, which runs counter to the claim that dispensaries and grow houses lead to an increase in victimization due to the opportunity structures linked to the amount of drugs and cash that are present. Although, this is in line with prior research suggesting that medical marijuana dispensaries may actually reduce crime in the immediate vicinity."

Does Legalizing Marijuana Reduce Crime?: Reason Foundation - September, 2018

The evidence presented suggests that legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational use results in: Patients substituting marijuana for other drugs, including opiates. Marijuana consumers substituting legal marijuana for illicit marijuana. A significant reduction in crimes associated with marijuana production, distribution, sale and possession. Reductions in other crimes, including some property and violent crimes. These effects vary by location, with reductions in property and violent crimes being most pronounced in locations close to the Mexican border due to the diminution of activities of Mexican drug trafficking organizations and affiliated gangs.

These impaired driving courses have been approved by NHTSA and IACP. International Standards have been established by IACP to ensure consistency in the content, delivery, and application of the SFST and drugged driving detection training. The SFST Standards are provided in this Administrator Guide. 

States should develop record systems that distinguish among alcohol, drugs, or both for impaired driving cases. These records should be integrated into computerized data systems of statewide arrest records, the court record systems, and motor vehicle records. One way to accomplish this would be to have separate offenses for driving impaired by alcohol and driving impaired by drugs.

"In both the U.S. and Canadian studies, it is important to keep in mind that a positive drug test does not necessarily indicate “impairment.” The level of drugs detected may have been too low
to be impairing. Moreover, many drugs can be detected in oral or blood tests long after their effects have diminished. For example, marijuana can be detected for 30 days or longer among heavy users."

The introduction of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) lead to a decrease in violent crime in states that border Mexico. The reduction in crime is strongest for counties close to the border (less than 350 kilometres) and for crimes that relate to drug trafficking.

Find information for your county.