The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime
Norwegian School of Economics
Floris T. Zoutman
Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Business and Management Science
November 5, 2013
In this paper we analyze the effect of medical marijuana laws on crimes in the US. Using the National Incident Based Reporting System, we exploit daily quasi-experimental variation in state legislation to establish the effect of drug liberalization on crime reports and arrests. As expected, we find that drug crimes decrease. Contrary to expectations, the introduction of such laws in a given state or neighboring state decreases the count of assault and property crimes and has no effect on sexual crimes. This is consistent with price drops and lower risk, associated with the acquiring of drugs. When we explore the effect of seizures of cocaine, we find that quantities decrease, hinting that these drugs are rather complements than substitutes for dealers. We perform several robustness checks and further explore the effect through synthetic control methods.
Keywords: Cannabis Legalization, Decriminalisation, Crime
JEL Classification: K42, K00, H00working papers series
Date posted: November 6, 2013
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