Attorney General Jeff Sessions believes that legalizing pot increases crime and violence. The evidence proves that he’s wrong. Here are five ways cannabis helps keep the peace.
Keeping the crime rate down in America’s second-largest city is no mean feat; however, that’s exactly what medical pot dispensaries have accomplished in Los Angeles. After a 2013 ballot measure closed hundreds of pot shops, the crime rate in neighborhoods that were deprived of their dispensaries actually increased: Larceny, property crimes and auto break-ins all went up after the dispensaries went down.
2. Border Crime
A report from the Economic Journal in June 2017 found significant decreases in both theft and violent crime in states sharing a border with Mexico. Three border states—California, Arizona and New Mexico—all have some form of legal, regulated cannabis, and researchers attribute the significant drop in activity by drug gangs to superior-quality home-grown weed being more readily available for more Americans.
3. Violent Crime
A year after Colorado voters legalized recreational cannabis in 2012, violent-crime rates dipped 2.4 percent in Denver, and the Colorado Department of Public Safety found a 6 percent decrease in violent crime statewide from 2009 through 2014.
The results were even more significant in Washington State, where crime fell an eye-popping 10 percent from 2011 (the last year pot was criminalized) through 2014, according to FBI data.
4. Property Crime
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation reported that the Rocky Mountain State experienced a 3.1 percent decrease in property crimes statewide during 2014. That’s a tremendous development. But in the state’s cannabis capital of Denver, the reduction in property offenses was even more impressive: In the year following the implementation of retail rec-pot sales, property crimes dropped 14.6 percent, according to FBI data.
5. Police Searches
In some cases, confrontations with police officers can escalate and end up badly for the citizens who are stopped and searched. But according to data analyzed by the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal website and the Marshall Project, legal cannabis helped account for a 34 percent decrease in searches of black drivers in Washington State, while searches of cars driven by whites and Latinos both declined 25 percent.
There you have it—five ways cannabis helps keep the peace. Suck it, Jeff Sessions.