Medical Cannabis Laws Reduce Incidents of Violent Crime, says US study

To date, there are more than 20 US states that have laws allowing for medical cannabis. In these states, one medical cannabis for every six regular dispensaries is present. However, the debate surrounding the legalization of cannabis for medical use has been going on for decades. Some argue that it bears great potential for the treatment of various disorders while some argue that it is a threat to public safety.

In general, it has become a common notion that drugs markets are associated with violence and crimes. However, a US study entitled “Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations?” The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime” found out that there has been a significant reduction in crime rates on the state along the Mexican border (Most of the cannabis that enters the US market come from Mexico, where seven cartels are known to control the illegal drug trade).

Recommendations of this study

The aforementioned study appears to several concerns that the legalization of medical cannabis, as well as recreational cannabis, would result in increased crime rates.

  • By studying crime reports from FBI and other homicide records from 1994 to 2012, the authors Evelina Gavrilova, Takuma Kamada, and Floris Zoutman, found out that among the studied states, California exhibited the highest crime reduction rate at 15%. On the other hand, the lowest reduction in crime was recorded in Arizona where only 7% was observed.
  • In their study, the drug-related crimes that were affected were robbery, murder, and homicide.
  • Furthermore, the authors strongly believe that their findings should serve as an important reminder for policymakers. They think that the legalization of cannabis in Washington and Colorado will have a strong effect on the drug trade and will further threaten the position of drug cartels.
  • After all, business experts think that business owners and investors that tend to adapt and change the consumption of people in a positive way will be the ones to succeed.

Other anecdotal evidence

Interestingly, the aforementioned study by Gavrilova and her colleagues is not the sole study that dealt with the same topic.

  • In 2014, Morris and his colleagues published a study entitled, “The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data, 1990-2006”. This study found out that the legalization of medical cannabis during the said time frame caused no increase in crime rates. In fact, it even resulted in the significant reduction of violent crimes like homicide.
  • In order to produce more accurate results, the authors had accounted for several factors such as poverty, education, employment, and even the per capita beer sales.

Overall, the emergence of anecdotal evidence like this suggests a positive feedback for medical cannabis legalization. Aside from that, it also promises the positive growth of the cannabis industry in 2018 and beyond. On the contrary, critics of medical cannabis legalization think that this study is just an effort to further push the legalization in many states.

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