Cannabis Legalization Helps Police Solve More Violent Crime Cases Says Latest Oregon Study
While many people like to argue that legalizing cannabis leads to more crime, the opposite has been found to be true, and there are studies there to prove it.
The latest study occurred in Oregon, where cannabis has been legal since 2014. The study, published November 2021 in the International Journal of Drug Policy, involved studying crime reports in the state from 2007 through 2017. It revealed that police were more successful in solving violent crimes following legalization.
“Legalization may contribute to an environment that positively affects police officers’ performance in solving serious crimes,” reads the study. In addition, the researchers discovered that there were “significant increases in the clearance rate for overall violent crimes and that for aggravated assault in Oregon’s counties relative to those in the non-legalized states following legalization.”
Clearance rates, which refer to the number of times a crime was committed was solved with someone being arrested for it, actually goes up after cannabis is legalized.
“Current evidence suggests that legalization produced some demonstrable and persistent benefit in clearance rates, benefits we believe are associated with the marijuana legalization proponents’ prediction that legalization would positively influence police performance,” conclude the researchers.
Commenting on the study’s results, NORML’s deputy director, Paul Armetano, commented: “These conclusions reaffirm the notion that states can sensibly regulate the adult use and sale of cannabis in a manner that doesn’t adversely impact public safety.”
“Moreover, in some cases, legalization may contribute to an environment that positively affects police officers’ performance in solving serious crimes,” Armetano adds.
In a similar study in Colorado and Washington, researchers found the same results though they are still confused as to why it happens though the hypothesis points to cannabis legalization. “While our results cannot specifically explain why police clearance rates have increased in Colorado and Washington, we think the argument that legalization did in fact produce a measurable impact on clearance rates is plausible,” explains the researchers. “Our models show no negative effects of legalization and, instead, indicate that crime clearance rates for at least some types of crime are increasing faster in states that legalized than in those that did not.”
Legalization Favored By Most Americans
Polls conducted each year continue to show overwhelming support for cannabis legalization by Americans, and this year it was no different. A poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports asking 1,000 American citizens if they are for the “national legalization of marijuana”, and they found that 62% of them agree. The results showed that 54% of Republicans support legalization, while 68% of Democrats said the same, and 62% said they had other political affiliations.
Meanwhile, 53% of those surveyed said they already reside in a state with legal marijuana, and 38% didn’t Additionally, 50% said they have smoked pot and 45% didn’t.
Gallup’s latest poll also found that 68% of American adults said they back the legalization of cannabis. In their last poll conducted November 2020, they had the same results, though it was the highest level of support for legalization since 1969.
Given these statistics, it isn’t surprising to see that cannabis legalization wouldn’t result in the increase of violent crime but would instead do the opposite.
“Our state’s efforts to regulate the sale of marijuana are succeeding. A few years ago, the illegal trafficking of marijuana lined the pockets of criminals everywhere. Now, in our state, illegal trafficking activity is being displaced by a closely regulated marijuana industry that pays hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. This frees up significant law enforcement resources to protect our communities in other, more pressing ways,” said Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
There are numerous reports and research from the government, academics, and other law enforcement authorities showing that cannabis legalization has no impact on crime rates, and in some cases actually reduces it. A 2018 study revealed that there was “no statistically significant long-term effects of recreational cannabis laws or the initiation of retail sales on violent or property crime rates.”
Cannabis Legalization Greatly Benefits The Justice System
It’s expected that attitudes towards cannabis legalization will only continue to improve in the next few years. After all, more people are discovering that cannabis is actually a beneficial substance given its health properties, both physical and mental, and more people are learning about it each and every day.
The legalization of cannabis would benefit the justice system in more ways than one, and it’s about time that people no longer get incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes. The economic costs are skyrocketing: data suggests that some $600,000,000 to as much as $3,000,000,0000 all go just to arresting adult-use cannabis users. Surely, all that tax money can go somewhere else, like upgrading police equipment and giving police officers a pay raise. On top of that, the entire process involved when it comes to arresting an individual and then taking them to jail means that the police officers are taken off the streets for a much longer period of time whereas they could be actually hunting down looking for actual criminals.
The United States criminal justice system is currently in need of major reform. While legalization of cannabis will also come with its own set of risks, the harms caused by the war on drugs simply pales in comparison.
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