When it comes to legalizing cannabis for medical and adult use, many tend to focus on the economic benefits cannabis regulation can create. However, allowing legal cannabis in the American market also creates other positive lasting effects internationally and in other areas of society. A recent study published by the The Economic Journal found that after the implementation of medical cannabis laws, there was a significant drop in violent crimes in states sharing a border with Mexico. The study, conducted by Professor Evelina Gavrilova and her team, concluded that the drop in demand for black market cannabis has contributed to fewer violent crimes. A decline in robberies, murders and aggravated assault in bordering states have all been linked to the implementation of medical and recreational cannabis laws.
After medical cannabis laws were established in these states the overall violent crime rate dropped by 12.5 percent. Robberies in particular experienced a 19 percent decrease, murders went down by 10 percent along with assault which decreased by nine percent. Many of the violent crimes in bordering states like California were due to the activities of drug trafficking organizations. Since medical and recreational laws alike make cannabis accessible legally, drug trafficking organizations lose business and their activity lowers. Many of the illicit drugs that find their way into the United States are from Mexican drug cartels who often carry out activity along the shared borders of California, New Mexico and Arizona.
Not every bordering state with a cannabis law allows recreational cannabis just yet. New Mexico and Arizona still only have laws regarding medical cannabis. Despite this, their crime rates have still dropped. The study, which was conducted by Professor Gavrilova, also revealed that inland states close to the states that share the Mexican border actually contribute to the decrease in crime if they have cannabis laws as well.
Gavrilova and her research team hope to use their study results as a way to further advocate for legalization of cannabis.