Legalising Marijuana Has Significantly Reduced Crime In US, Study Says

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The legalisation of marijuana has led to a reduction in violent crime on the US border with Mexico a study has shown.

Medical marijuana has caused a 13 per cent reduction in violent crime according to the study Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime.

The vast majority of marijuana makes it way into the US through the Mexican border where violent cartels fight to control the supply of drugs into the country.

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According to the economist, Evelina Gavrilova local farmers who grow marijuana legally have undercut these cartels causing a reduction in business.

This has the effect of reducing violent crime along the border.

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Gavrilova explained:

The cartels are in competition with one another. 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.

Whenever there is a medical marijuana law we observe that crime at the border decreases because suddenly there is a lot less smuggling and a lot less violence associated with that.

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The report states that while the cartels are still smuggling in harder drugs like heroin and cocaine, marijuana is the largest drug market in America and the one which makes the most money for the cartels.

Gavrilova and her team used data from the FBI’s crime reports and homicide records covering 1994 to 2012.

They discovered that the state where the law change had the biggest effect was in California where crime fell by 15 percent while the smallest was Arizona where the fall was just seven per cent.

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The crimes most affected by the change were robbery which fell by 19% and murder which dropped by 10%.

Amazingly murders related to drug offences fell by an incredible 41 per cent.

While the authors claim that their study demonstrates flexible drugs laws can help reduce drug trafficking but it’s an opinion US attorney general, Jeff Sessions doesn’t share.

Sessions is currently working to rescind the Obama administration’s efforts to relax drugs laws.

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Gavrilova said: 

When the effect on crime is so significant, it’s obviously better to regulate marijuana and allow people to pay taxes on it rather than make it illegal.

For me it’s a no brainer that it should be legal and should be regulated, and the proceeds go to the Treasury.

Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence suggests that the Cartels are diversifying their business portfolios into other unsavoury areas to make up for the shortcomings in their finances.

Supposedly these new business opportunities include human trafficking and growing poppies to make their own heroin rather than relying on importing it from Afghanistan.