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Cannabis Control and Crime: Medicinal Use, Depenalization and the War on Drugs

Huber III Arthur (), Newman Rebecca () and Daniel LaFave

The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 2016, vol. 16, issue 4, 35

Abstract: To date, 27 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws easing marijuana control. This paper examines the relationship between the legalization of medical marijuana, depenalization of possession, and the incidence of non-drug crime. Using state panel data from 1970 to 2012, results show evidence of 4–12 % reductions in robberies, larcenies, and burglaries due to the legalization of medical marijuana, but that depenalization has little effect and may instead increase crime rates. These effects are supported by null results for crimes unrelated to the cannabis market and are consistent with the supply-side effects of medicinal use that are absent from depenalization laws as well as existing evidence on the substitution between marijuana and alcohol. The findings contribute new evidence to the complex debate surrounding marijuana policy and the war on drugs.

Keywords: Medical Marijuana Laws; depenalization; crime (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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