A study analyzing crime rates in Colorado and Washington suggests legalizing recreational marijuana has a minimal effect on crime rates, if any.
One argument for legalizing marijuana is the assumption that it would lead to lower crime rates—decriminalizing the drug, so the theory goes, removes illegal trade and the criminal activities that go along with it. Indeed, a study published in The Economic Journal in 2017 found that states on the US-Mexico border that legalized medical marijuana saw a decrease in violent crimes of 5.6 to 12.5 percent.
However, if a new study is anything to go by, this drop in crime is not consistent. In Colorado and Washington, legalizing recreational use of the drug appeared to have little to no effect on the number of violent and property crimes.
Researchers from Washington State University, Stockton University, and the University of Utah came to this conclusion after comparing monthly crime rates in Colorado and Washington to those of 21 states that haven’t legalized pot for medical or recreational use, both before and after legalization, to see if there were any trends that deviated in Colorado and Washington. The stats were collected from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report from 1999 to 2016. [Read more at Newsweek]
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