Legal Marijuana Cuts Violence According To New US Study
A new study has emerged that credits legal marijuana for the reduction in violent crime in US states that border Mexico.
The study, ‘Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime’, notes that when a state on the Mexican border legalized marijuana, violent crime fell by 13% on average.
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Legalizing marijuana in these states essentially renders cartels useless. There are currently seven major cartels in Mexico that control most of the illicit drug trade.
“These laws allow local farmers to grow marijuana that can then be sold to dispensaries where it is sold legally,” said the economist Evelina Gavrilova, one of the study’s authors. “These growers are in direct competition with Mexican drug cartels that are smuggling the marijuana into the US. As a result, the cartels get much less business.”
The knock-on effect is a reduction in levels of drug-related violence. “The cartels are in competition with one another,” Gavrilova explained. “They compete for territory, but it’s also easy to steal product from the other cartels and sell it themselves, so they fight for the product. They also have to defend their territory and ensure there are no bystanders, no witnesses to the activities of the cartel.”
California saw the largest drop in crime as there was a reduction of 15%. Arizona saw the least amount of change, witnessing only a 7% fall in violent crime. Overall homicides dropped by an astonishing 41% because of legal marijuana.
The study also suggests that the full legalization of marijuana in states such as Colorado and Washington is set to have an even bigger impact of the illegal drug trade as the production of high-quality marijuana in these states will further threaten the position of drug cartels.
This new study has emerged in the wake of Jeff Sessions’ announcement that he is rescinding the Obama-era policy that allowed legal cannabis to flourish. His move will stop the prohibition of federal enforcement agencies from intervening in matters relating to marijuana in states where it is legal.
Sessions’ move has resulted in substantial backlash, both from within and outside his own party. Could studies like this one provide further insight into the benefits of legalizing marijuana?