Crime Declines with Legalization

Action Alert: Copy and email your legislators the following info about crime reductions with legalization:

Dear Representative/Senator: 

Contrary to what some believe, credible research shows that cannabis legalization doesn’t increase crime, and actually can reduce crime. 

The Economic Journal reported that legalizing medical marijuana in states bordering Mexico led to significant reductions in  homicides and aggravated assaults. The reduced demand for marijuana smuggled illicitly from Mexico reduced “activity of Mexican drug trafficking organizations and affiliated gangs, along with violence these organizations use to maintain control  of the market.”  

The regression analysis and the synthetic control method found that medical marijuana laws did not lead to violent or property crime at the national level. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization found no strong effects within individual  states, except in California where the medical marijuana law reduced both violent and property crime by 20%. 

A study from the Program in Criminology of University of Texas at Dallas concluded that the legalization of marijuana for medical use poses no danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes. Alternatively, state medical cannabis laws “may be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates, net of other covariates.” 

The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found that, after reviewing a large national sample of arrestees with positive drug use is not “associated with aggressive crime and that, in contrast, self-reported frequent use of  alcohol has strong and robust positive effects [on aggressive behavior]” These results are consistent with earlier research in  Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, as well as European national-level studies of aggressive behavior and substance use.

The Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization examined the rate of rapes and property crimes between Washington, with legal recreational cannabis, and Oregon with prohibition. Legal cannabis was associated with a significant reduction in rapes and property crimes in 2013–2014 compared to the Oregon prohibition of cannabis side of the state-line and relative to the pre-legalization years of 2010–2012.



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