Much ado about nothing? Or did a bad genie escape the bottle and wreak havoc across society?
Those questions (termed a slightly different way) centrally guided research scientists teamed together in a multi-university study examining the criminal effects of marijuana possession/use in post-legalization environments. Crime data relevant to Colorado and Washington was understandably a focal point of research scrutiny. Those states command vanguard status as the first to nationally to legalize recreational pot use.
The culled information was both voluminous and comprehensive. A media piece spotlighting the recently concluded study notes that relevant statistical data was culled “from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report from 1999 to 2016.”
The endeavor was reasonably expected to reveal timely and valid information concerning marijuana legalization’s effect on criminal behavior, both as to type and frequency.
It seemingly did just that, with the results equating to a somewhat tepid conclusion. We note in a recent blog post (please see our November 4 entry) that detractors of legalization have persistently issued dire warnings about a growing number of states’ liberalized marijuana initiatives. They routinely predict the emergence of “a crimewave across multiple dimensions” resulting from anything other than stringent criminal policies.
Does the study support that concern?
Patently, it does not. Researchers conclude through the application of “robust empirical methods” that the effects of legalized pot schemes on criminal activity “appear to be marginal – if they exist in the first place.”
The growing momentum for legalized marijuana programs nationally is already firmly on display. New state entrants are routinely adopting liberalized policies in the wake of Colorado’s seminal decision to do so several years ago.
The above-cited study findings will likely increase support for legalization platforms.