I could never understand why marijuana was classified as a dangerous drug — so dangerous that it was illegal to even do any studies on it, or to prescribe it as a pain killer (even though much more powerful drugs like morphine were routinely used for pain relief). Why? Because opponents claimed that using marijuana would increase crime.
Now that around a dozen states have legalized marijuana for medical use, multiple studies have been done to find out what effects, if any, legal marijuana use has had.
To hardly anyone’s surprise, the studies show that legal access to medical marijuana does not result in any increase in crime. In fact, there is evidence that it is related to a decrease in violent crime. The theory is that substituting marijuana for alcohol reduces the crime rate for murder and assault. Also, the legalization of medical marijuana led to a 13% decrease in alcohol related traffic fatalities.
Two studies looked at the neighborhoods were medical marijuana dispensaries are located, and found that there was no evidence of any increases in violent crimes or property crimes.
And finally, while we only have data for the one state that has legalized the recreational use of marijuana, so far in the three months it has been legal there has been a slight dip in both violent and property crimes.
While it may be too early to reach a firm conclusion, the big point is that repeated studies have shown absolutely no evidence that legalizing marijuana leads to increased crime.
In a country where even presidents have admitted that they have used marijuana, isn’t it time to completely eliminate marijuana prohibition?