Study: Marijuana Legalization Associated With Reduction in Crime, Drug and Alcohol Use

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. ”

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Report: Marijuana Legalization May Have Led to Drop in Murder and Rape Rates in Washington and Oregon

A new report by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) has found that marijuana legalization may have helped to reduce rape and murder rates in both Washington and Oregon.

In their second assessment report on the impact of marijuana legalization, WSIPP also found no evidence that marijuana legalization has increased marijuana usage rates among adults or adolescents, and found legalization to have no impact on hard drug use, property crimes or  violent crimes.

“[A]mong respondents under age 21, those living in counties with higher sales were significantly less likely to report use of cannabis in the past 30 days”, says Justin Strekal, poliyical director for NORML, speaking on the report. Stekal says the report shows “evidence that nonmedical legalization in Washington and Oregon may have led to a drop in rape and murder rates”.

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