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Marijuana and Violent Crime

You may see posts by anti-drug crusaders lately screaming bloody murder about the increase in, well, bloody murder, in Colorado since marijuana legalization in 2012. It's part of their campaign to get people to fear liberalizing marijuana laws because it will inevitably increase the rate of violent crime.

Only problem is... it's not so inevitable. Let's check on the actual data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

In the first chart, I've placed all the recreational (blue) states with their relative change in violent crime rate since 2012. Half them had increases, half of them didn't.

Violent Crime Rate Change since 2012 in Recreational States

In the second chart, I've placed all the medical (green) states. Nine had increases, thirteen had decreases.

Violent Crime Rate Change since 2012 in Medical States

In the third chart, I've placed all the prohibition (red) states. Eleven had increases, six had decreases.

Violent Crime Rate Change since 2012 in Prohibition States

By that measure, it kinda looks like NOT legalizing or medicalizing marijuana leads to more violent crime. Sure enough, in the fourth chart we've got all fifty states arranged by change in violent crime, and there's red in the increases and decreases.

Violent Crime Rate Change since 2012 in All Fifty States by Rate

If there's any correlation between these states and violent crime, it doesn't seem to be their legal status for marijuana. in the fifth chart, I've sorted the states by their average elevation. The higher the elevation, the more likely violent crime increased.

Violent Crime Rate Change since 2012 in All Fifty States by Mean Elevation

So... it's not the marijuana, it's the lack of oxygen!

1 comment

  • Ha!

    Ricky Clark

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