Cannabis Legalization Has No Influence on Theft and Violent Crimes


Regardless of extended-held assumptions that legal cannabis is bound to boost 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 following 2014, the initially year of legal recreational cannabis sales. When the debate may possibly not be more than, so far, factors are seeking very good for legal cannabis.


“In several approaches, the legalization of cannabis constitutes a grand ongoing experiment into how a big public policy initiative does or does not achieve its anticipated outcomes,” Ruibin Lu, the study’s lead author stated. “Given the likelihood of far more states legalizing recreational marijuana, we felt it was essential to apply robust empirical procedures to parse out the effects of this action on crime in the initially years following legalization.”

Earlier analysis has concluded legal cannabis sales can trigger a rise in theft and violence. Nevertheless, several 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 identified the presence of cannabis dispensaries essentially lowered crime by 19 %, although there may possibly not be adequate information out there to accept this as a universal conclusion.

NIJ study co-author, Dale Willits, desires to urge caution prior to producing assumptions about how legal cannabis may possibly influence other crimes. For instance, this study did not analyze no matter if or not driving below the influence convictions rose following legalization.

The study may possibly 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 fairly 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 program. This program only records the most critical charge when several violations are committed, leaving open the likelihood that some offenses had been not incorporated in the study. Also, researchers did not account for violations committed by minors.

Willits realizes far more analysis need to be performed prior to a concrete conclusion can be reached.

“We genuinely want to see exactly where this goes. Appropriate now we stated, no brief-term effects. And that is genuinely 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 price from this we didn’t anticipate.”


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