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Does Legalization Negatively Impact Crime Rates?

Colorado Springs, CO: The adoption of state-level marijuana legalization laws does not lead to any significant uptick in overall criminal activity, according to data published in the Journal of Drug Issues.

A pair of researchers affiliated with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and with Boise State University in Idaho compared crime data in Colorado and Washington to a synthetic control over a ten-year period (2010-2019). They reported that legalization was “generally not associated with changes in index crime rates.”

Authors concluded: “These findings substantiate prior research. Increased crime rates should not be a primary concern as more states move to adopt recreational marijuana use legislation.”

Prior evaluations have reported an association between adult-use legalization and improvements in police clearance rates, concluding that legalization “positively influences police performance.”

Full text of the study, “Crime in a time of cannabis: Estimating the effects of legalizing marijuana on crime rates in Colorado and Washington using a synthetic control method,” appears in The Journal of Drug Issues. Additional information is available from NORML’s fact sheet, ‘Marijuana and Crime Rates.’

Source: NORMLmake a donation