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Legalization of Marijuana Will Reduce the Crime Rate

In the past few decades’ legalization of marijuana in various states in the United States has provoked heated debate concerning its efficiency in the reduction of crimes. Reports from states that have legalized the use of marijuana suggest that marijuana has been found to cure multiple health conditions and refreshment purposes. For example, marijuana has been employed in the treatment of conditions such as anxiety, stress, and nausea. The biggest challenge that hinders the legalization of marijuana is whether it has a positive or negative impact on crime rates.According to Willits et al. (2021) the major opposition to the legalization of marijuana in all states for medical and recreational purposes in the United States is the fear that the crime rates will rise. However, the opposite is true since most scholars believe that legalizing marijuana will reduce crime rates. The data from crime rate statistics support the claim by arguing that the states that have legalized marijuana have dramatically reduced criminal activities that are associated with the distribution and production of marijuana (Kim, et al., 2019). For instance, Washington State which legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in 2013 has experienced lower court filings for marijuana by 98% between 2013 and 2019. Additionally, the number of convicted adults above 21 years on possession of marijuana reduced from 300 to zero in 2013 and has remained there since. On the other hand, the number of individuals convicted who are under 21 years has reduced by 50% from 2013 to date. According to the prior data, although marijuana has now been legalized, the common consequences for violating the rules governing the acquisition and sale of marijuana have vanished. As a result, earlier regulations and statistics will no longer apply since there will be less of a rush to sell marijuana now that it is legal, whether for medical or recreational purposes. Trafficking, growing, and “street selling” are no longer the most sought-after crimes to be on the lookout for from a law enforcement standpoint because many dealers and users are now within the constraints of laws. As long as the easy procedure is followed, these numbers will continue to diminish.

The general majority expressed concern that if marijuana were to be legalized, many more people would turn to other substances that have not been medically or psychoactive approved, such as opioids. Other research, reveals that overdoses from opioids decreased by approximately 25% in states that passed Medical Marijuana Legalization (MML) legislation (Maier, et al., 2017). Other studies imply that if marijuana were to be legalized, there would be an upsurge in property crimes in the communities where the hypothetical marijuana pharmacy would be located. Many various studies were undertaken after the Act was passed in many different states to gather factual data to prove otherwise.

According to the research, property crime surrounding medicinal marijuana stores did not rise. The data also shows that there was no rise in crime around dispensaries or surrounding communities as a result of increased police and security provided by the dispensaries. In reality, since Marijuana was legalized for medicinal and recreational use in Denver, Colorado, crime rates have decreased (Maier, et al., 2017). Although marijuana regulations have gotten considerably more lax in certain states, it is still classed as a schedule 1 substance, which means that obtaining a reclassification or conducting a clinical study at the federal level is extremely difficult. This is terrible for companies that operate under state regulations that allow for drug distribution (selling) and processing (growing). During the Obama administration, the federal government took a very flexible approach to marijuana oversight, allowing future state laws to establish medical and recreational uses for the federally controlled substance, with the stipulation that the drug did not violate federal law and are beyond children reach. During the Trump regime, however, there was a much more practical experience approach, which resulted in a major crackdown and strict activities by federal agents from the Border Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which led to many companies losing their permits and being closed down due to stringent enforcement (Kim, et al., 2019).

The Trump Administration was also certain to have an impact on these enterprises by raising income tax rates for these companies by 90 percent; few were able to endure such punitive legislation (Kim, et al., 2019). For marijuana to be permitted on a national level, a big clinical study would need to be done, with solid proof indicating that there is something to gain on a medical level from the substance, as previous experiments were not conducted by teams obtained from the federal government. Due to Marijuana’s present categorization as a schedule 1 drug, a study of this size may never take place. There are two brackets for schedule one drugs: one that indicates the substance has medicinal benefits, and the other that declares the drug has no medical advantages. The federal government will not give up lightly on the process of legalization, and it will take significant opposition to demonstrate that there are far more benefits than disadvantages. In general, the crime rate, particularly within specific locations where studies to indicate contrary were conducted, is Marijuana-friendly, whether medicinally or recreationally. This implies that, until Congress assembles a team and legalizes marijuana as a whole on a federal level, states will have to be at the forefront in leading the citizens to reap the benefit of marijuana that should have been decriminalized four decades ago.

To fully legalize marijuana and benefit from it, a functionalist sociological perspective can be applied. According to functionalist theory, society is a complex system that works together to endorse solidarity and stability. Functionalists believe that challenging people’s views is the best approach to achieve solidarity and redefine social norms. This is crucial in driving the claims of the importance of legalizing marijuana since it will reduce opposition. According to Robertson (2020) the prohibition of marijuana is undemocratic since most people have changed their attitudes toward the drug. By 2019, more than 66% of Americans supported legalization for medical purposes and reduced crimes. The data shows that individuals’ attitudes and beliefs about marijuana have changed dramatically in the past few decades and therefore it implementing it will ensure the complex society is solid once again. Also, legalizing will bridge the gap between those who are against it and those who care for it. Moreover, the prohibition of marijuana is costly. For instance, in 2018 there were more than 670, 000 marijuana-related cases in the United States. Almost 90% of the cases were for possession of marijuana. This shows that the government is arresting individuals who are using marijuana for recreational purposes and not the suppliers (Adinoff, & Reiman, 2019). With most of the arrestees being incarcerated, the government is using tax money to support the offenders while in prisons which can be used for other purposes. According to Robertson (2020) the government spends about $35, 000 to house an inmate in a year. Further, the enforcement of marijuana laws is not equally distributed across social status and race. Factually, African Americans, Hispanics, and other minority groups are more likely to arrest for marijuana than whites. This increase the crime rate since, some group of individual feel they are mistreated by the laws put in place to control the use and distribution of marijuana. Thus, legalizing marijuana will not only improve the economy and medical capabilities of the state but will also lower crime rates significantly.


Adinoff, B., & Reiman, A. (2019). Implementing social justice in the transition from illicit to legal cannabis. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse45(6), 673-688.

Kim, J. H., Santaella-Tenorio, J., Mauro, C., Wrobel, J., Cerdà, M., Keyes, K. M., … & Li, G. (2019). State medical marijuana laws and the prevalence of opioids detected among fatally injured drivers. American journal of public health106(11), 2032-2037.

Lu, R., Willits, D., Stohr, M. K., Makin, D., Snyder, J., Lovrich, N., … & Hemmens, C. (2021). The cannabis effect on crime: Time-series analysis of crime in Colorado and Washington State. Justice Quarterly38(4), 565-595.

Maier, S. L., Mannes, S., & Koppenhofer, E. L. (2017). The implications of marijuana decriminalization and legalization on crime in the United States. Contemporary Drug Problems44(2), 125-146.

Robertson, S. (2020). Module 11: Non-Conformity and Social Control: Criminal and Social Justice. Foundations in Sociology I.


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