Public support for marijuana legalization has grown substantially. The consumption of recreational marijuana has been legalized in Uruguay, Canada, and several US states. In addition, many European countries, most US states, and Thailand have passed laws that allow the consumption of cannabis for medical reasons. Given the growth in public support, it is important to arrive at a better understanding of the welfare consequences of marijuana legalization.
In the United States, California was the first state to pass a medical marijuana law in 1996. These laws allow patients with a prescription from a doctor to consume marijuana. The laws also legalize the whole supply chain, allowing small-to-medium scale farmers to grow cannabis, so that it can be sold in marijuana dispensaries. More than two decades later, 33 states and the District of Columbia have followed suit. Such laws allow researchers to study the systemic effect of marijuana on crime. It appears that medical marijuana laws can reduce violent crime, dramatically, at least in US counties that border Mexico.
Evelina Gavrilova is an Associate Professor in the department of business and management science at the Norwegian School of Economics. Her research focuses on the crime-reduction policies, organized crime and public economics.
Takuma Kamada is a PhD candidate at the department of sociology and criminology at the Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on the effects of social policies and law enforcement on communities and crime, with emphasis on illegal markets in different ethno-racial contexts.
Floris Zoutman is an Associate Professor in the department of business and management science at the Norwegian School of Economics. His research focuses on public economics and crime.
They are the authors of 'Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organisations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime', published in The Economic Journal.