High Crimes? The Effect of Marijuana Legalization on Crime in Colorado

68 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2018

See all articles by Glenn Furton

Glenn Furton

Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics; Texas Tech University

Date Written: October 23, 2018

Abstract

The previous decade has witnessed a surprising number of states move to legalize cannabis for both medical and recreational use. This movement has caused controversy regarding the uncertainty of the effect of legalization on criminal activity. While few empirical studies have shed light on recent legalization and crime, economic theory suggests that a reduction in prohibitions ought not to cause an increase in criminal activity. This study examines the effect of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado on crime rates among all individuals as well as those 21 years of age and under using a synthetic control method to construct a counterfactual state of Colorado. The results indicate that crime increases in all categories in Colorado, with an especially significant increase in property crime committed by adults.

Keywords: Marijuana Legalization, Decriminalization, Drug Policy, Crime Rates

JEL Classification: H75, I18, K14, K32

Suggested Citation

Furton, Glenn, High Crimes? The Effect of Marijuana Legalization on Crime in Colorado (October 23, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3271993 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3271993

Glenn Furton (Contact Author)

Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics ( email )

Box 42132
Lubbock, TX 79409-2132
United States

Texas Tech University ( email )

2500 Broadway
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

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