Marijuana advocates wish to say that legalization usually means a lower in crime wherever it’s legalized. But that assertion is tough to show.
A 2019 study discovered that whereas marijuana use can enhance the probability of violent and property crimes, marijuana use might also diminish a person’s violent tendencies.
First, a sounding factoid: A violent crime is dedicated within the U.S. every 26.2 seconds, based on the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program (UCR). Overall violent crime rose again in 2018, a rise of practically a million victims over 2015. Nationwide, UCR figures report that marijuana arrests proceed to outpace arrests for violent crimes.
While the standard points with marijuana possession proceed in states the place it’s nonetheless unlawful — akin to in Virginia, the place the state made 28,866 arrests for marijuana offenses in 2018, based on the Uniform Crime Reporting Section of the Virginia state police, a rise of over 1,000 from 2017 — even in states the place each medical and leisure marijuana have been legalized, arrests for possession have elevated or stayed the identical.
In Washington, D.C., for instance, the place leisure marijuana was legalized in 2014, you possibly can nonetheless be busted for possession wherever within the District. New information launched by the DC metro police division reported A complete of 926 individuals have been arrested for hashish crimes in Washington, D.C. in 2017, up 37% from 676 in 2016, as reported in Marijuana Moment.
In Colorado, the full variety of marijuana arrests decreased by about half from 2012-2013, however have remained about the identical since then.
But curiously, the most common marijuana industry‐related crime in Denver was housebreaking, accounting for 59% of marijuana crime associated to the business in 2017.
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And that factors to the true problem of crime and marijuana — retaining an business protected that has no actual federal protections, with dispensaries usually relegated to distant areas of a city or metropolis, all engaged on a cash-only banking system. The business itself is creating extra avenues of crime.
There has already been a spate of robberies in Sacramento, Denver and Seattle. In the case of Washington state, because of regulatory compliance, anybody (learn: any thief) can find total industry and individual sales for a lot of the 540 marijuana retailers and 1,534 producer/processors within the state.
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But the most important crime problem the business faces is the black market, which continues to proliferate. In California, for instance, the black market is anticipated to make over $8.7 billion in 2019, in comparison with the authorized market’s $3.1 billion. The black market is forecast to make up 53% of all gross sales within the state by 2024, based on a report in BDS Analytics, a marijuana analysis firm.
While the analysis continues, largely pointing to information that extra legalization will help scale back crime prefer it’s doing in some of the Mexico border states, it’s clear that the true problem to cut back crime related to marijuana is federal legalization — starting with banking — and extra aggressive legislation enforcement to remove the black market, which thrives partially due to excessive taxes on legalized marijuana merchandise.