In one of the most drastic examples of the potential benefits of legalized cannabis, Denver, Colorado has seen a sizable reduction in violent crimes – particularly homicides – since the beginning of legal recreational cannabis sales.
Compared to 2013, 2014 saw an overall reduction in both violent and property crimes since legal cannabis sales began January, 2014. The most notable reduction was a large reduction in homicides – a roughly 25% drop – and a reduction in automobile thefts. All other forms of violent crime saw a reduction in their incidences over the same period.
In addition to these reductions, Denver has seen a reduction in sexual assaults, a drop in burglaries and a reduction in aggravated assaults. Property crimes were also down.
Overall, crime was down 7.9%.
As many know, correlation doesn’t always imply causation, but these numbers are still a telling sign, and give clear evidence that, at the very least, legal cannabis sales are not causing an increase in crime, as many opponents argued it would.
[Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on May 2nd, 2014. It was updated on September 1st, 2015.]