Joint Culpability: The Effects of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime

39 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2017  

Yu-Wei Luke Chu

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Economics & Finance

Wilbur Townsend

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust

Date Written: February 12, 2017

Abstract

Most of the U.S. states have passed medical marijuana laws. In this paper, we study the effects of these laws on violent and property crime. We first estimate models that control for city fixed effects and flexible city-specific time trends. To supplement this regression analysis we use the synthetic control method which can relax the parallel trend assumption and better account for heterogeneous policy effects. Both the regression analysis and the synthetic control method suggest no causal effects of medical marijuana laws on violent or property crime at the national level. We also find no strong effects within individual states, except for in California where the medical marijuana law reduced both violent and property crime by 20%.

Keywords: Marijuana, medical marijauna laws, crime

JEL Classification: H75, I10, I18, K32, K42

Suggested Citation

Chu, Yu-Wei Luke and Townsend, Wilbur, Joint Culpability: The Effects of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime (February 12, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2915909 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2915909

Yu-Wei Luke Chu (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Economics & Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 600
Wellington 6001
New Zealand
04 463 6855 (Phone)

Wilbur Townsend

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust ( email )

Level 1, 93 Cuba Street
P.O. Box 24390
Wellington, 6142
New Zealand

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