Cannabis legalization is causing less violent crimes, recent study finds

Annureet Kaur

A recent study published in the Economic Journal found violent crimes have decreased in the states bordering Mexico since the legalization of medical cannabis.

The research finds that the rate of violent crime like murders, assaults, and robberies fell drastically by 12.5 percent in states by the border since legal cannabis was introduced.

“MMLs (medical marijuana laws) allow people to grow and cultivate marijuana plants legally within the US,” Professor Evelina Gavrilova, one of the study’s authors, told The Independent.

“This means that people don’t need to buy illegal marijuana anymore so drug trafficking organisations (DTOs) have far fewer customers.”

Drug trafficking organizations have been one of the biggest contributors of violent crimes in the United States, and the study finds that these organizations have been less active since legal cannabis started.

Robberies have decreased by 19 percent in US border states that have legalized medical cannabis, murders by 10 percent and assaults by nine percent. Drug-law related murders saw the biggest decrease of nearly 41 percent.

New Mexico and Arizona, both of which border Mexico have legalized medical cannabis, while the California, Mexico’s third neighbor has legalized social cannabis to all adults.

According to the study, cannabis is the biggest drug market in the US, and while drug traffickers aren’t going to give up on the market so easily, cannabis legalization is surely crippling them at least.

Gavrilova and her fellow researchers hope to shed some positive light on the legalization of medical and social cannabis by showing some of the consequences of regulating legal cannabis.