Legalizing marijuana has tiny to no effect on prices of violent or house crime, according to a new study that was funded by a federal agency. The policy adjust did look connected to a lengthy-term decline in burglaries in one particular state, nevertheless.
Although earlier attempts to recognize the connection among legal cannabis markets and crime have turned up mixed outcomes, researchers involved in this study utilised an enhanced methodology—a “quasi-experimental, multi-group interrupted time-series design”—to generate stronger proof.
The study, published in the journal Justice Quarterly and funded by the federal National Institute of Justice, identified that violent and house crimes prices have been not impacted in a statistically important way in the years just after Colorado and Washington State became the initially in the nation to legalize marijuana for adult use.
“Our outcomes recommend that marijuana legalization and sales have had minimal to no impact on main crimes in Colorado or Washington,” the paper concluded. “We observed no statistically important lengthy-term effects of recreational cannabis laws or the initiation of retail sales on violent or house crime prices in these states.”
The study authors explicitly cited claims produced by prohibitionist group Wise Approaches to Marijuana and author Alex Berenson as becoming contradicted by their findings.
To figure out the effect of legalization, researchers developed experimental models that compared crime prices in Colorado and Washington to these in 21 non-legal states from 1999 to 2016. The evaluation was primarily based on FBI information on violent, house, aggravated assault, auto theft, burglary, larceny and robbery crime prices.
Following legalization, there have been one particular-time increases in house crime in the two states, as effectively as a spike in aggravated assault in Washington, but these did not reflect lengthy-term trends, “suggesting that if marijuana legalization influenced crime, it was brief-lived,” the study authors wrote.
There was one particular statistically important lengthy-term effect that the researchers did attribute to state marijuana laws: The burglary price in Washington decreased, and that trend has held.
It is not quickly clear why that is the case, and the study’s conclusion encourages future analysis that replicates and refines the design and style utilised for this experiment to resolve answered queries.
“In summary, our outcomes recommend that there may well have been some quick increases in crime at the point of legalization, but there have been basically no longterm shifts in crime prices mainly because of legalization, aside from a decline in Burglary in Washington. Even though the brief-term increases could seem to recommend that marijuana elevated crime, we caution against this interpretation as the increases do not reflect permanent shifts (that is, these are shifts in intercepts, not slopes) and could be artificially induced by the compact quantity of time units among legalization and sales.”
Dale Willits, a study coauthor, mentioned in a press release that in light of the “nationwide debate about legalization, the federal classification of cannabis below the Controlled Substances Act, and the consequences of legalization for crime continues, it is important to center that discussion on research that use contextualized and robust analysis styles with as couple of limitations as achievable.”
“This is but one particular study and legalization of marijuana is nonetheless somewhat new, but by replicating our findings, policymakers can answer the query of how legalization impacts crime,” he mentioned.
Study authors also noted that their evaluation did not take into account other crimes such as drug impaired driving.
“Given the likelihood of additional liberalization of state and even federal marijuana laws, it is crucial that policy makers and analysis funders allocate the needed sources to conduct these far more rigorous and intensive kinds of contextualized research,” they concluded. “Large-scale policy shifts can take a considerable quantity of time to generate steady and understandable effects.”
This is the second current study that is received Justice Division funding and arrived at a conclusion that runs against the logic of prohibition. An additional instance looked at the effect of legalization on law enforcement sources and trafficking trends.
Study Funded By Feds Debunks Myths About Marijuana Legalization’s Alleged Harms