Critics of harsh penalties for marijuana drug offenses have consistently asserted that a black market increases crime rates. According to recent statistics published by the government in Denver, the number of robberies and violent crimes has decreased significantly since pot was legalized. Though the correlation is not definitive proof that legalization is responsible, the statistics suggest that making marijuana possession and distribution legal can significantly reduce crime rates. An article published by The Free Thought Project website highlights the statistics and raises a compelling discussion about the potential to reduce crime rates through legalization.
The statistics are particularly convincing given the narrow window of time that the drastic reduction in crime took place. In only one year, the number of homicides in the city dropped by 52.9%, sexual assaults were down by over 13% and robberies were down by nearly 5%. Assaults were also down by almost 4%. Our Orange County marijuana defense attorneys are committed to providing informed and strategic advocacy on behalf of individuals and cannabis proprietors. We are abreast of trending legal issues in California and nationwide in support of marijuana legalization.
The reports were generated after following rates of crime between 2013 and 2014. Analysts compared data before and after legalization to determine the impact on crime rates. While legalization may be one reason for a reduction in crime, there may be many reasons for the drastic shift. The author of the Free Thought Project article points to the reality that legalization has created an economic boom for residents and increased prosperity. Some say that the drug’s ability to “mellow” people out and keep them calm could also reduce the number of violent crimes or homicides.
In addition to these factors, it is also possible that the reduced attention to drug crime enforcement has freed law authorities to keep an eye on real offenders. Evidence suggests that police resources are being diverted to stop more serious crimes, including domestic abuse, robberies, assault and homicide. It appears that putting an end to chasing down marijuana users and distributors can also help increase safety among citizens.
Earlier studies in California suggest that legalization of medical marijuana could also reduce crime rates. According to a Huffington Post article published in 2012, juvenile crime rates were at a record low after medical marijuana was legalized. According to research, California experienced a 20 percent drop in crime rates between 2010 and 2011, bringing them to the lowest levels since 1954. Researchers point to the legalization of medical marijuana to account for the trend. In the period after medical marijuana was legalized, the number of arrests for violent crimes went down by 16 percent, homicide rates were down by 26 percent, and drug arrests were down by 50 percent.
During this time, California’s youth crime rates fell faster than any other state in the nation. Naysayers may point to changes in the way statistics are gathered, or other cultural shifts to account for the drop in crime rates, but analysis assert that the two major factors for the decrease in crime rates is the loosening of marijuana laws and the boost in economic well-being among California youth.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
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