MARIJUANA and CRIME
Though critics often scoff at the link between violence and marijuana, one very real fear of community leaders is a spike in crime… and the evidence is clear and growing that habitual marijuana intake provokes aggressive episodes and other criminal behavior in some users.
The legalization of marijuana has not resulted in a reduction in crime, as we were told it would. In fact, the numbers show that the results have been quite the opposite.
In a 50 year study of youth from England, "Marijuana Use Increases Violent Behavior", published in Psychology Today (March 20, 2016), researchers found a causal relationship between continued cannabis use and violent behavior and crime.
Neuroscientist Tabea Schoeler at Kings College London, and her colleagues followed the same individuals for over 50 years from a young age to adulthood.
They found that after taking into consideration all factors - most of the participants had never used cannabis and were never reported to have violent behavior. However, 20% of the boys who started using pot by age 18 and continued to use it through middle-age reported violent behavior that began after beginning to use cannabis - whereas only 0.3% reported violence before using weed. Continued use of cannabis over the life-time of the study was the strongest predictor of violent convictions.
The results show that continued cannabis use is associated with a 7-fold greater odds for subsequent commission of violent crimes. The authors suggest that impairments in neurological circuits controlling behavior may underlie impulsive, violent behavior, as a result of cannabis altering the normal neural functioning in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex.
A 2013 paper in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence found that students who used marijuana were three times more likely to be physically aggressive as those who did not.
A 2016 study, published in Psychological Medicine, reported on a project that tracked 400 English people for 40 years, starting when they were young. Marijuana users, the study discovered, proved five times more likely to be aggressive throughout their lives.
A report in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, analyzing data from several studies, found that teens and young adults who used marijuana were 45 percent more likely to act violently while dating.
In fact, talk to authorities in California’s Emerald Triangle. This 10,000-square-mile area saw a significant spike in violent crime. “People are getting shot over this plant. All legalization did here was create a safe haven for criminals.”
Law enforcement officials say that “We haven’t seen any drop in crime whatsoever. In fact, we’ve seen a pretty steady increase…. we’re seeing more robberies and more gun violence.”
MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION INCREASES CRIME!
Colorado: The crime rate in Colorado increased 11 times faster than the rest of the country since it legalized marijuana. Since 2012, when it signed off on recreational pot, Colorado has seen violent crime rise by 20 percent (compared with a decrease of about 1 percent in violent crime nationally over the same period.)
Alaska: Alaska's national ranking for larceny moved up from 16th to 2nd, motor vehicle theft from 16th to 5th since it legalized marijuana, and violent crime increased by 30 percent.
Oregon: Oregon's national ranking since legalization went from 17th to 11th for property crime, 12th to 7th for larceny, and 13th to 8th for motor vehicle theft from 2014-2016, and violent crime increased 21 percent.
Washington State: Only in Washington State—where crime has risen 3 percent since legalization in 2012—might the crime increase be "described as moderate.”
New York Times: And according to a January 2019 article in the New York Times, "Before recreational legalization began in 2014, advocates promised that it would reduce violent crime. But the first four states to legalize — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — have seen sharp increases in murders and aggravated assaults since 2014 according to reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation… and police reports and news articles show a clear link to cannabis in many cases."
Marijuana use does NOT reduce crime – nor is it “crime neutral”. To the contrary, homicides have generally increased in pro-marijuana jurisdictions including Denver, Seattle and the District of Columbia which have all experienced a resurgence of violence after seeing historically low rates.
Simply, the oft-cited justification for legalizing marijuana - reducing drug-related violent crime, is not materializing. The reason? There is a causal effect of marijuana use and violence.