When the nonmedical use of cannabis was legalized in Washington in November 2012, proponents argued legalization would reduce crime, while opponents maintained it would increase it. Eight years later, the quality of debate has not improved, if one is to judge by Alex Berenson’s alarmist anti-cannabis book, “Tell Your Children,” and a recent New Yorker piece by Malcolm Gladwell, “Unwatched Pot,” based on the book.
Both assert that violent crime and murder may have increased as a result of legalization. Their claim flies in the face of what we’ve learned in one of the most robust and in-depth looks at crime after legalization. Accounting for trends before and after legalization, we find there has been no increase in violent crime that can be directly attributed to marijuana legalization in Washington.
If we’re to have reasonable debate and distortion-free policymaking on this vital issue, we need more quality research, not unsubstantiated and inaccurate