Does the Decriminalization and the Legalization of Recreational and Medical Marijuana Affect Crime Rates? A Panel Data Analysis of the New England States
First Faculty Advisor
Marijuana laws and crime rates
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND license.
Marijuana laws and their impact is always a topic of controversy. The major marijuana laws are the legalization of recreational marijuana, the legalization of medical marijuana, and the decriminalization of marijuana. This paper looked at specifically their impacts on three types of crime rates: non-marijuana drug sale crime rates, non-marijuana drug possession crime rates, and non-drug crimes. This study used panel data for the six New England state from 2000-2019 and ran panel data regressions to determine the change of each type of crime rate from before to after each policy implemented. A total of nine regressions pairing each policy to each type of crime were run. The results were relatively consistent with the current expectations. The legalization recreationally resulted in a decrease in non-drug crimes, medical legalization did not have a significant effect on any crime and the decriminalization resulted in an increase of non-marijuana drug sale crime rates. The legalization of medical marijuana was shown to be insignificant to crime. The results provide insight into this issue but as it was only one region, this paper can provide another reference to the affects and aide policy makers when looking to implement these policies.