A new study published this week by the journal PLOS ONE has found that legalizing medical cannabis doesn’t lead to an increase in crime, and may decrease homicides and assaults.
For the study, researchers at the University of Texas used data from FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, examining crime rates across the country over a 16 year period. They then “analyzed the association between state MML [medical marijuana laws] and state crime rates for all Part I offenses collected by the FBI.”
According to researchers: “Results did not indicate a crime exacerbating effect of MML on any of the Part I offenses. Alternatively, state MML may be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates, net of other covariates.”
It’s concluded that; “These findings run counter to arguments suggesting the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes poses a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes.”
Researchers hypothesize that the possible reduction in crime may be due to people substituting alcohol for cannabis. Researchers claim that the results “fall in line with recent evidence and they conform to the longstanding notion that marijuana legalization may lead to a reduction in alcohol use due to individuals substituting marijuana for alcohol. Given the relationship between alcohol and violent crime, it may turn out that substituting marijuana for alcohol leads to minor reductions in violent crimes that can be detected at the state level.”
The full study can be found by clicking here.