The legalization of marijuana is associated with a reduction in crime, as well as drug and alcohol use, according to a new study published by the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.
“First-pass evidence is provided that the legalization of the cannabis market across US states is inducing a crime drop”, states the study’s abstract. “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 discontinuity 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.
Researchers found that legalization “also increased consumption of marijuana and reduced consumption of other drugs and both ordinary and binge alcohol. ”