There is some evidence that medical marijuana laws are associated with a decrease in violent crime.
Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers realize that this is a surprising statement to some individuals but the University of Texas may have found an interesting correlation.
Recently, the University of Texas at Dallas conducted a study to determine whether crime rates have risen or fallen in states where medical marijuana has been legalized.
The study analyzed data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obtained between 1990 and 2006, across the 11 states where marijuana was legalized during that time. The study controlled the data including any crimes directly associated with legalization, without drawing conclusions.
Researchers determined that states where medical marijuana was legalized, including California, did not show any evidence of crime increasing, but in fact, may actually have seen a slight decline.
Assault and homicide are among the violent crimes that seem to have declined over the 16-year period.
However, these results are not surprising for many in law enforcement because legalization and regulation could help prevent drug cartels and gangs from ruling, forcing customers to rely upon dangerous forms of acquisition.
The drop of homicide and assault was less than three-percent, and researchers indicated that the drop could have resulted from other variables. The fact that the decline coincides with marijuana legalization may offer hope for a further decline in serious crime as legalization becomes more ubiquitous across the country.
In 2012, another study indicated that neighborhoods where marijuana dispensaries are located have not seen an increase in crime after opening. Similarly, a 2013 study conducted by the University of Chicago found evidence that new medical marijuana laws were associated with a decrease in the number of fatalities.
California lawmakers are diligently working to determine the future of recreational marijuana in California. With so many studies suggesting that legalized marijuana may actually reduce serious criminal offenses, lawmakers now have the task of determining the best way to proceed with appropriate legislation. Proceeding will affect California residents, law enforcement, and the state’s relationship with the federal government.
For California residents, staying abreast of the changing issues in marijuana laws is important.
Similarly, as the laws change, it is important to understand your legal rights and be aware of any changes that affect you if you use medical marijuana. Ultimately, the goal for lawmakers, law enforcement, and citizens should be to find a balance that will be beneficial for all parties involved.
If marijuana legalization does help reduce crime, then further legalization is certainly something for lawmakers to consider.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
More Blog Entries:
Live Oak ban on marijuana upheld by Appeals Court, December 31, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
California: City Council to Review Bill Allowing Dispensaries , December 29, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog