Marijuana advocates – and even some wiser members of the law enforcement community – have argued that putting an end to prohibition would actually reduce crime by giving police additional time and money to enforce more serious offenses, but to date there has been little research to support or deny this claim.
Until now, that is. Both states reported seeing post-legalization increases in their police clearance rates – the number of crimes resulting in a arrest compared to the total number of reported offenses, according to Marijuana Moment. Clearance rates for violent crimes had been steadily declining in Colorado and Washington at the beginning of the decade, but after both states legalized pot in 2012, these rates soon leveled out and began to increase. Even as overall clearance rates for property crimes have been decreasing across the U.S., police in these two states reported an increase in solved property offenses. “Our models show no negative effects of legalization and, instead, indicate that crime clearance rates for at least some types of crime are increasing faster in states that legalized than in those that did not.”
Although this is the first study focusing on the rates of crime clearance in canna-legal states, other research has identified a growing number of connections between legal pot and crime reduction.
Despite prohibitionists’ claims, the body of research connecting marijuana legalization with crime reduction is continuing to grow.