Italian Researchers: Crime Fell in Oregon, Washington Following Legalization of Marijuana

By Jessica Peralta

Crime is incessantly cited as a cause to not legalize hashish, however a February research from researchers on the University of Bologna’s Department of Economics in Italy, revealed in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, concluded that the fears of a bounce in crime from legalizing leisure hashish use are unjustified.

In reality, researchers discovered a potential lower.

“One clear benefit of legalized marijuana is that it hinders the black market, as marijuana can be bought ‘out in the open’ in a legal and regulated business,” stated Marc Ross, a securities lawyer with Sichenzia Ross Ference Kesner in New York, who additionally teaches enterprise and regulation of marijuana at Hofstra University School of Law, the such course taught in a US regulation faculty. “And, as the influence of gangs and cartels decrease in society, one would expect the amount of ‘serious crimes,’ which are usually associated with gangs and cartels, to decrease as well.”

Researchers took what they known as a “quasi-experiment” – the legalization of leisure hashish in the adjoining states of Washington and Oregon two years aside (Washington in 2012 and Oregon in 2014) – to review the consequences legalization had on crime.

They discovered that reported rapes dropped in Washington between 15 % and 30 %, whereas studies of property crimes fell by between 10 and 20 %, and stories of thefts decreased between 13 % and 22 %.

Photography by Gina Coleman

Jeffrey D. Swartz, a former prosecutor, protection lawyer and decide, and now a professor of felony process and legal regulation on the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in the capital, Lansing, stated the research strains up together with his information of hashish and legal exercise.

“There is a great deal of violence that surrounds the trafficking of drugs, including marijuana,” stated Swartz. “Legalization will remove the profits that makes trafficking in marijuana worth the risk, and worth the violence that competing drug operations spawn. Decriminalization will reduce the kind of crime that manifests in the competition between rival factions in the illegal trade.”

Though the research itself couldn’t definitively give the explanations behind the lower, the researchers did word some prospects, together with the notions that legalization might result in a discount in the felony component concerned in hashish, in addition to hashish itself being a  relaxation-inducing, and maybe violence-reducing, drug.

The researchers identified in their very own outcomes that the legalization of leisure hashish elevated its consumption whereas decreasing the consumption of different substances, comparable to alcohol – which can be extra violence-inducing. Another risk steered by the researchers is that legalization might convey a reallocation of regulation enforcement assets away from hashish.

Los Angeles legal protection lawyer Jonathan Mandel, who takes on a quantity of cannabis-related instances, stated he hasn’t anecdotally observed a drop in crime himself since California legalized leisure marijuana use in 2018, however he does sense a shift amongst prosecutors.

“It allows them to focus on serious stuff,” he stated.

He does query the power to generalize the research to areas outdoors of the Northwest, nevertheless.   

“I don’t know how that would play in the Midwest or South,” he stated. “I don’t know whether their attitude towards marijuana is the same.”


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