Medical marijuana legalization may lead to lower homicide rates, study finds

Categories: Marijuana

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During the debate over regulating medical marijuana dispensaries, opponents frequently suggested that the presence of such shops would cause crime to rise. Numerous studies have debunked these predictions and a new University of Texas Dallas inquiry does, too -- but with a twist. Researchers note that crime rates related to some of the most serious offenses, including homicide, actually fell in states after medical marijuana was legalized, although they stop short of making a definitive causal connection.

"The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data, 1990-2006," credited to Robert G. Morris, Michael TenEyck, J. C. Barnes and Tomislav V. Kovandzic, appears in the journal PLOS ONE. We've included the complete article below, but an abstract summarizes the findings like so: "Results did not indicate a crime exacerbating effect of MML [medical marijuana legalization] on any of the Part I offenses. Alternatively, state MML may be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates, net of other covariates."

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The italicized "may" above appears in the original -- and the word appears again in a passage that drills a bit deeper into the results. Here's an excerpt:
With one exception -- forcible rape -- states passing MML laws experienced reductions in crime and the rate of reduction appears to be steeper for states passing MML laws as compared to others for several crimes such as homicide, robbery, and aggravated assault. The raw number of homicides, robberies, and aggravated assaults also appear to be lower for states passing MML as compared to other states, especially from 1998-2006. These preliminary results suggest MML may have a crime-reducing effect, but recall that these are unconditional averages, meaning that the impact of the covariates and other factors related to time series trends have not been accounted for in these figures.
Also included in the piece are a series of graphics depicting the rates of assorted crimes in medical marijuana states. As you can see, the rates for homicide, robbery, aggravated assault and burglary are all down over the test period. In contrast, those related to forcible rape, larceny and auto theft remain above the "prior to medical marijuana" line, although generally not by a huge margin.

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Click to enlarge.
This study joins others that have documented little to no negative societal impact related to medical marijuana. In February, for instance, our William Breathes detailed University of Colorado Denver research showing that "a medical marijuana dispensary in the Denver area doesn't have any more impact on its neighborhood than does a coffee shop or a drugstore."

Continue for more about the latest study, including the complete document.


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17 comments
Pam Stiffler
Pam Stiffler

The same way it happened with the end of liquor prohibition...

Rian Milehigh
Rian Milehigh

lol youre incorrect. Marijuana is 3 times more expensive in the dispensaries than on the streets for ppl without red cards like me. I can pay $10 a gram on those very streets youre talking about ANY time...When dispensaries charge $25-30 a gram and have closing hours. haha Legalization DOES NOT make the black market obsolete. I STILL buy from friends who grow, even though there's pot shops all over the place, and WILL ALWAYS support friends who grow their own. I get ozs top shelf for 100-150 bucks and the money stays in my circle of friends.

Meredith Thomas
Meredith Thomas

I was hoping this would be the case. By legalizing, it's one less thing for gangs and drug dealers to have power over. It has taken marijuana off the street corners & placed them in reputable dispensaries.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter


States with Highest Marijuana Use


1) Alaska
2) Vermont
3) Colorado
4) New Hampshire
5) Massachusetts
6) Oregon
7) Rhode Island
8) Wash. D.C.
9) Maine
10) California



States with Lowest Murder Rates


1) New Hampshire
2) Vermont
3) Iowa
4) Minnesota
5) Utah

6) Idaho
7) Massachusetts
8) Maine
9) Hawaii
10) Oregon

Monkey
Monkey

Medical mushrooms anyone? Coca leaf tea? 

Lets keep those crime rated declining! I say anything in it's raw form should be legally used medicinally, but what do I know.

D0NKEYH0TAY
D0NKEYH0TAY

The funny part is that only the CAREGIVERS are crying about their magic money farms getting scaled back to a reasonable level.  The patients could care less. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

.... Boycott the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels !!


Support your Local Private Grower / Caregiver !!


Better Bud, Better Prices, Better People ... NO TAXES !!


.

Monkey
Monkey

@D0NKEYH0TAY  No one cares about government agencies trying to scam them, it's the American way. This is just another example of wasted efforts. The registry is voluntary, if patients stop registering, or registering their caregiver, they still receive the same protection under the law with a doctors note, and so does their caregiver. All they want to stop is information contained in the registry, they can't stop caregivers from serving more than 5, or patients/caregivers growing what they deem necessary.

I suspect this is the real motive, to stop people registering with the state. Then the state can pretend medical marijuana is dead, and work on removing the whole amendment, forcing all patients into the heavily taxed stores.  

D0NKEYH0TAY
D0NKEYH0TAY

Caregivers fleecing patients through a loophole in the law is somehow better than the black market?  I think things are working here with the legalization in place.  Bud prices are down 50% from just a couple years ago.

"Caregivers" should be giving and caring if they want to grow plants.  Caregivers don't seem to be doing much of either.  My underground dealer gives me more. 

My last 2 caregivers ripped me off. Grew my plants and then sold them off to the black market.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey  "The registry is voluntary, if patients stop registering, or registering their caregiver, they still receive the same protection under the law with a doctors note, and so does their caregiver. All they want to stop is information contained in the registry, they can't stop caregivers from serving more than 5, or patients/caregivers growing what they deem necessary."


Bingo !!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@D0NKEYH0TAYFAKE "My last 2 caregivers ripped me off"


Because you're a loser and a lowlife, always have been, always will be.



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