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Analysis shows no change in US crime from medical marijuana legalization

Victoria University of Wellington research shows there has been almost no change to the level of crime in the United States since the legalisation of medical marijuana.

The research, led by Dr. Luke Chu from the School of Economics and Finance and former student Wilbur Townsend, studied national crime rates as well as rates in individual states that have passed  laws, and found minor effects.

The exception was California, where violent and property crime reduced by 20 percent between 1996—when medical marijuana was legalised there—and 2013.

The researchers compared before and after data on specific crimes including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft between states with and without legalised marijuana. Nearly all of the estimated changes in crime rates are close to zero at national and state levels.

California’s 20 percent reduction in crime could be due to a range of factors, says Dr. Chu.

“There’s no definitive answer as to why. California is a relatively liberal state and was the first U.S. state to legalise medical marijuana.” [Read more at]

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