Study: Marijuana Legalization is Not Associated With an Uptick in Violent Crime

According to a new study the legalization of marijuana including sales at the state level is not associated with any significant or long-term uptick in criminal activity. The study, titled The cannabis effect on crime: Time-series analysis of crime in Colorado and Washington State, was published in the journal Justice Quarterly.

For the study, researcher with the Department of Justice and Criminology at Washington State University examined trends in monthly average crime rates in Colorado and Washington following legalization compared to various control states. Researchers examined trends in violent crime, property crime, aggravated assault, auto theft, burglary, larceny, and robbery rates.”Marijuana legalization and sales have had minimal to no effect on major crimes in Colorado or Washington”, states the study. “We observed no statistically significant long-term effects of recreational cannabis laws or the initiation of retail sales on violent or property crime rates in these states.”Researchers concluded by stating that “the results related to serious crime are quite clear: the legalization of marijuana has not resulted in a significant upward trend in crime rates.. Our results from Colorado and Washington suggest that legalization has not had major detrimental effects on public safety.”The full abstract of the study can be found below:Previous studies based on relatively weak analytical designs lacking contextualization and appropriate comparisons have reported that the legalization of marijuana has either increased or decreased crime. Recognizing the importance for public policy making of more robust research designs in this area during a period of continuing reform of state marijuana laws, this study uses a quasi-experimental, multi-group interrupted time-series design to determine if, and how, UCR crime rates in Colorado and Washington, the first two states to legalize marijuana, were influenced by it. Our results suggest that marijuana legalization and sales have had minimal to no effect on major crimes in Colorado or Washington. We observed no statistically significant long-term effects of recreational cannabis laws or the initiation of retail sales on violent or property crime rates in these states.You can find more information on this study by clicking here.

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