Cannabis Legalization Has No Effect on Theft and Violent Crimes


Regardless of extended-held assumptions that legal cannabis is bound to enhance theft and violent crimes, a new study indicates otherwise. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has published a report in Justice Quarterly analyzing crime statistics tracked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The study looked at crime information from 1999-2016.

In Colorado and Washington, violent crime and theft prices showed no statistically considerable rise immediately after 2014, the 1st year of legal recreational cannabis sales. Although the debate may perhaps not be more than, so far, points are hunting superior for legal cannabis.


“In quite a few approaches, the legalization of cannabis constitutes a grand ongoing experiment into how a key public policy initiative does or does not achieve its anticipated outcomes,” Ruibin Lu, the study’s lead author stated. “Given the likelihood of additional states legalizing recreational marijuana, we felt it was significant to apply robust empirical solutions to parse out the effects of this action on crime in the 1st years immediately after legalization.”

Earlier analysis has concluded legal cannabis sales can bring about a rise in theft and violence. Even so, quite a few researchers really feel these research are primarily based on anecdotal proof and are unable to view crime information more than the extended-term. A current study discovered the presence of cannabis dispensaries truly lowered crime by 19 %, even though there may perhaps not be sufficient information out there to accept this as a universal conclusion.

NIJ study co-author, Dale Willits, desires to urge caution ahead of generating assumptions about how legal cannabis may perhaps influence other crimes. For instance, this study did not analyze irrespective of whether or not driving beneath the influence convictions rose immediately after legalization.

The study may perhaps not be the definitive word on legalization’s influence, but the doomsday scenarios predicted by cannabis opponents do not look to be coming to fruition. 

“I believe it will be quite clear proof that, at a minimum, the sky is not falling,” Willits stated.

There are other limitations to the study. In addition to the exclusion of DUI information, the study relies solely on the FBI’s uniform crime reporting technique. This technique only records the most critical charge when many violations are committed, leaving open the opportunity that some offenses had been not incorporated in the study. Also, researchers did not account for violations committed by minors.

Willits realizes additional analysis should be performed ahead of a concrete conclusion can be reached.

“We truly need to have to see exactly where this goes. Suitable now we stated, no quick-term effects. And that is truly all we can say with the information we have. But I wouldn’t really feel comfy saying, in ten years, we will not see some advantage or expense from this we didn’t anticipate.”


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