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In states that have legalized Marijuana, either in a medical format or both medical and recreational format, there has been an overall drop in criminal activity. This paper examines that benefit, and other unanticipated benefits of legalization, to include increase in tax revenue, reduced incarceration costs, reduced illegal growing in national forests, reduced traffic fatalities, and reduced harm from alcohol abuse. Various crime trends are examined in simple and aggravated assault, criminal trespassing, public-order crimes, and other criminal mischief, and the reasons behind them. This paper explores the benefits experienced by the United States, and examines trends surfacing in the European Union as well, where there has been an increase in income from sales tax on recreational marijuana, and a reduced number of prisoners, and the overall economic burden on the taxpayer. Evidence points towards a general decline in fatalities in states that had Medical Marijuana Laws, with only two states that had MMLs showing a rise in traffic fatality rates. Finally, this paper examines the reduction in alcohol-related harms: harms at home, health harms, work harms, and financial harms.

Key Words: Marijuana Legislation, Medical Marijuana Laws, Violent Crime, Property Crime


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  • Subject
    • Criminal Justice

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • VMR 3 Enter Guest PIN 2003

  • Event date
    • 17 April 2020

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. John Stuart Batchelder