A new research funded by a grant by the National Institute of Justice sought to ascertain the impact of the shift in legal status of cannabis on offenses rates.
Nordic countries and the District of Columbia have legalised cannabis. The analysis, which appeared at legalisation and earnings of recreational or wide medical functions cannabis at Colorado and Washington, discovered minimal to no impact on rates of property and violent offenses in those countries.
The study, by investigators at Washington State University, Stockton University, and the University of Utah, seems in Justice Quarterly, a publication of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.
The grand experiment
Ruibin Lu, assistant professor of criminal justice in Stockton University, who’s first author on a paper concerning the study, stated:”Oftentimes, the legalisation of cannabis represents a grand continuing experiment to how a significant public policy initiative does or doesn’t accomplish its anticipated results.
“Considering that the likelihood of states legalising recreational cannabis, we believed it was important to employ robust empirical procedures to parse the effects of the action on offense in the initial years following legalisation.”
Past studies have reported mixed and inconclusive results on the way legalising cannabis influences offense. Some politicians and advocacy groups have utilized those records to support their positions for and against legalisation.
In this new study, investigators used techniques they state are more rigorous than those used in previous study (i.e., quasi-experimental approaches that closely mimic experiments and offer stronger proof ) to ascertain whether the legalisation of cannabis resulted in changes in crime prices.
Researchers picked Colorado and Washington since they were both oldest states to legalise growing, processing, and selling cannabis commercially available for recreational usage.
Cannabis for medical and other functions
Researchers compared with annual offense rates in Colorado and Washington to crime rates in 21 countries that haven’t legalised cannabis use for recreational or wide medical functions at the country level.
Crime prices came in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report from 1999 into 2016 for agencies that reported total data in this time. The analysis calculated how property and violent offenses shifted for Colorado and Washington following the legalisation and retail sale and also compared the changes to that which occurred in nations that hadn’t legalised cannabis.
Generally, the analysis found no statistically significant long-term consequences of recreational cannabis legislation or the initiation of retail revenue on property or violent crime rates in Colorado or Washington, with the exception of a decrease in burglary rates in Washington. This also implies that the legalisation and earnings of cannabis for recreational or wide medical functions have had minimal to no impact on major offenses in those states.
The analysis also chronicled a few gains in offense in the 2 states immediately after legalisation of cannabis — together with property crime rates climbing in Colorado and Washington, and aggravated assault levels increasing in Washington. But in both countries, these gains were short-lived and didn’t signify permanent shifts.
The study’s authors note that since they analyzed changes in severe crime, they can’t tackle the impact of legalising cannabis on other sorts of crime (e.g., crimes associated with driving under the influence of cannabis). Additionally, they state they can’t eliminate the possibility that cannabis legislation may have different results on various kinds of communities within a country.
Dale W. Willits, assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology in Washington State University, among those co-authors of this analysis, stated:”As the national debate about legalisation, the national classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act, and also the consequences of legalisation for offense proceeds, it’s vital to center that debate on research which use contextualised and strong research designs with as few constraints as possible.
“That is but one analysis and legalisation of cannabis remains comparatively fresh, but by copying our findings, policymakers could answer the question of how legalisation affects offense ”