The use of cannabis-based for medicinal uses, also called medical marijuana, is a topic of much debate. Many claim that cannabis has healing properties and can help aid a variety of ailments. However, due to the state of prohibition with regards to cannabis, there have been few studies. Recently, using cannabis for medical purposes has been legalized. This means that people who once turned to the black market for their medicine are now able to get it at state licensed dispensaries. So has this lead to a decrease in the amount of crimes being committed? Read on to find out.
The Up Side of Legalization
With the ending of prohibition on medical marijuana, there has been a significant decrease in border states with dispensaries. A recent Norwegian study of 18 U.S. states with legal medical cannabis (there are 23 states that currently allow it) found a dramatic reduction in both theft and violent crimes since legalization began. The data the researchers used was from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Much of the illegal marijuana that comes into the United States is smuggled across border states from Mexico and Latin America.
The Down Side of Legalization
Some argue that with the uptick in dispensaries comes an uptick in crime in local communities. While there have been instances of robberies at cannabis dispesaries and farms, more attention is being paid to the amount of people being arrested for OUI (operating under the influence). The issue at hand with those statistics is that THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) sticks to fat cells and can remain in a person’s body for up to 30 days after use. Additionally, many states with some sort of legal cannabis had to pass stricter driving laws to coincide with a potential rise in use.
Overall, it appears that current studies show that legalizing medical marijuana does not increase crime and ever appears to decrease it. Another recent study conducted at the University of Texas – Dallas found that overall crime had decreased in 11 states with legal medical marijuana. Scientists believe this may be due to a reduction in alcohol or prescription pill abuse. For proponents of medical cannabis, both studies are good news. However, it is important to note that legalization is still somewhat new. This means that more studies must be conducted in order to gain a full understand of its effects on crime rates.