HAVERFORD, PA — Medical cannabis regulatory programs are associated with reductions in the prevalence of certain types of violent crimes, according to a thesis paper published online on the International Scholar website.
The paper evaluates the relationship between state-sanctioned medical cannabis programs and violent crime rates over a two-decade period. It finds that cannabis medicalization laws are associated with decreases in murder and robbery.
States with the largest populations of registered patients were associated with the greatest reductions in violent criminal activity.
“[A] one percent increase in medical marijuana registration rates decreases murder and robbery rates by 0.03 percent and 0.02 percent, respectively, and has no significant effect on other types of crime,” the author concludes. “These results show that increasing the legal availability of marijuana through medicalization could decrease murder and robbery rates, two crimes highly associated with the illegal drug trade.”
The results are similar to those of a 2014 University of Texas study which determined that the enactment of medical cannabis laws was associated with reductions in rates of homicide and assault.
A recent analysis of violent crime rates in Washington state both before and following the enactment of adult use marijuana regulations also reports that per capita incidences of violent offenses have fallen since legalization.
The abstract of the paper, “The effect of medical marijuana on crime rates,” is available online.