Legalizing marijuana has little to no impact on rates of violent or property crime, according to a new study that was funded by a federal agency. The policy change did seem connected to a long-term decline in burglaries in one state, however.
While previous attempts to understand the relationship between legal cannabis markets and crime have turned up mixed results, researchers involved in this study used an enhanced methodology — a “quasi-experimental, multi-group interrupted time-series design” — to produce stronger evidence.
The study, published in the journal Justice Quarterly and funded by the federal National Institute of Justice, found that violent and property crimes rates were not affected in a statistically significant way in the years after Colorado and Washington state became the first in the nation to legalize marijuana for adult use.
“Our results suggest that marijuana legalization and sales have had minimal to no effect on major crimes in Colorado or Washington,” the paper concluded. “We observed no statistically significant long-term effects of recreational cannabis laws or the initiation of retail sales on violent or property crime rates in these states.” The study’s authors explicitly cited… The Boston Globe