A rise in marijuana legalization significantly cut violent crimes in several states, a new study says.
Violent crimes have reportedly reduced by about 13% in states that border Mexico after marijuana has been legalized, according to “Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime.”
The study was published in November and written by: Evelina Gavrilova, Takuma Kamada and Floris Zoutman. It examines the effect of medical marijuana laws in crime by using data sources from the Uniform Crime Reports, Supplementary Homicide Reports and The Drug Enforcement Administration’s database of drug exhibits called STRIDE.
It concludes that a decriminalization of small-scale production and distribution of marijuana harms Mexican drug trafficking organizations, thus major decreases in violent and drug-related crimes in Mexican border states.
“These laws allow local farmers to grow marijuana that can then be sold to dispensaries where it is sold legally,” one of the study’s authors Gavrilova told The Guardian. “These growers are in direct competition with Mexican drug cartels that are smuggling the marijuana into the US. As a result, the cartels get much less business.”
According to the research, California appears to have the biggest change from the legalization where violent crimes fell by 15 percent. These crimes include robbery which decreased by 19 percent and murder by 10 percent. Drug trade-related homicides fell up to 41 percent.
“Whenever there is a medical marijuana law we observe that crime at the border decreases because suddenly there is a lot less smuggling and a lot less violence associated with that,” Gavrilova continued.
Among all drug markets, the marijuana market is considered to be the largest in the United States.