Cannabis Legalization Has No Influence on Theft and Violent Crimes


In spite of lengthy-held assumptions that legal cannabis is bound to improve 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 important rise soon after 2014, the very first year of legal recreational cannabis sales. Although the debate might not be more than, so far, points are seeking great for legal cannabis.


“In numerous strategies, the legalization of cannabis constitutes a grand ongoing experiment into how a important public policy initiative does or does not achieve its anticipated outcomes,” Ruibin Lu, the study’s lead author stated. “Given the likelihood of much more 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 very first years soon after legalization.”

Preceding study has concluded legal cannabis sales can lead to a rise in theft and violence. Even so, numerous researchers really feel these research are primarily based on anecdotal proof and are unable to view crime information more than the lengthy-term. A current study located the presence of cannabis dispensaries essentially decreased crime by 19 %, although there might not be sufficient information accessible to accept this as a universal conclusion.

NIJ study co-author, Dale Willits, desires to urge caution prior to generating assumptions about how legal cannabis might effect other crimes. For instance, this study did not analyze regardless of whether or not driving beneath the influence convictions rose soon after legalization.

The study might not be the definitive word on legalization’s effect, 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 method. This method only records the most significant charge when numerous violations are committed, leaving open the opportunity that some offenses have been not incorporated in the study. Also, researchers did not account for violations committed by minors.

Willits realizes much more study ought to be performed prior to a concrete conclusion can be reached.

“We truly will need to see exactly where this goes. Proper now we stated, no brief-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 price from this we didn’t anticipate.”


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