New Study Says Legalizing Marijuana Helps Police Solve More Crimes

One of the more common arguments in favor of marijuana legalization is that it allows for police officers to focus on more serious crimes, and now cannabis advocates can point to actual data proving that's the case.

A new study found that clearance rates, meaning the amount of times a crime committed ended with someone actually being arrested for it, increased in both Washington and Colorado in the years following marijuana legalization. So essentially, marijuana legalization led to more cases being solved.

Many people had argued that legalizing marijuana would allow law enforcement to put more resources into more important areas. But this study is really the first time that someone has tested that hypothesis.

Now someone might say, "Well, maybe clearance rates were already going up and marijuana legalization made no difference!" But that's not the case. The researchers noted that clearance rates were either flat or even declining in the years prior to legalization, so there was a definite change in the years post-legalization.

Of course, proving that marijuana legalization is what led to these changes is nearly impossible, but the researchers said they believe it's likely that it contributed.

“While our results cannot specifically explain why police clearance rates have increased in Colorado and Washington, we think the argument that legalization did in fact produce a measurable impact on clearance rates is plausible,” the researchers said. “Our models show no negative effects of legalization and, instead, indicate that crime clearance rates for at least some types of crime are increasing faster in states that legalized than in those that did not.”

So just more proof that marijuana legalization does not actually make places more dangerous.

(h/t Marijuana Moment)


On Sunday, Bernie Sanders unveiled his proposal to overhaul the criminal justice system. Cannabis legalization is central to his plan. "We must legalize marijuana nationally, expunge past marijuana convictions and ensure revenue from legal marijuana is reinvested in the communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs," he wrote on Twitter.

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