A new study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization has added to an ever-growing body of research which suggests that cannabis legalization is linked to a decrease in violent crime. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Bologna in Italy, looks at legalization’s effects on crime in the state of Washington.
The findings are the result of a comparison between Washington state, after it legalized in 2012, and the neighboring state of Oregon, which legalized two years later in 2014. That two-year gap allowed researchers to compare violent crime rates across several counties in both states and measure the effects of legalization.
The researchers cite four reasons they believe the legalization of cannabis may have had a positive effect on violent crime rates starting with the suggestion that legalization itself, “reduces the likelihood of [cannabis users and growers] engaging in violent activities.” They go on to say that legalization reduces the likelihood that those growing and selling cannabis will be involved in gang activity while the regulation of a legal market frees up police resources to combat other crimes.
The study also found that residents in legal states reduced their normal and binge alcohol consumption significantly when provided with the alternative of legal weed. Researchers see this reduction in the use of more “violence-inducing substances” like alcohol and cocaine as a contributing factor.
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SOURCE: Tomoski, M. (2018, April 9). Herb. New study confirms cannabis legalization reduces violent crime. Retrieved from https://herb.co/marijuana/news/cynthia-nixon-governor-cuomo-cannabis
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