Wretched Hives Of … People Smoking

One of the claims made by the anti-pot crusaders — particularly government USA’s and DEA agents prosecuting legal medical marijuana clinics — is that pot shops are a magnet for crime. These claims have just been thrown out there with little evidence to back them up. But they’ve used to justify raiding pot shops, shutting them down, threatening landlords with asset forfeiture and other fun games our federal government likes to play.

Well, someone took a look at the, you know, facts:

A study published by the online journal PLOS One yesterday finds that adoption of medical marijuana laws is not associated with an increase in crime and may even result in fewer assaults and homicides. Robert G. Morris and three other University of Texas at Dallas criminologists looked at trends in homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft in the 11 states that legalized marijuana for medical use between 1990 and 2006. While crime fell nationwide during this period, it fell more sharply in the medical marijuana states, even after the researchers adjusted for various other differences between states. Morris and his colleagues suggest that the substitution of marijuana for alcohol could explain this result, although they caution that the extra reduction in crime might be due to a confounding variable they did not consider.

This is what legalization advocates have been arguing for years — that prohibition creates crime and criminals and that a legalized drug trade would drive down crime rates. In fact, this comports so closely to their claims that I’m actually reluctant to read too much into it. I want to see what other studies show — including studies of Colorado and Washington — before I draw any firm conclusions.

Despite my caution, I will say this is an encouraging finding. I don’t expect the Drug Warriors to acknowledge it (they would, of course, trumpet a study that claimed the opposite). We also have to see what the effects of legal pot shops are on use, addiction and other health outcomes. But it is both satisfying and enraging to see more evidence piling up that our decades-long experiment in prohibition was as big a disaster as we feared.

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  1. Seattle Outcast

    And then there was the report of the Idaho cop pulling over and old man and searching his vehicle just because he had Colorado plates on his car. Nothing like a cop lying to your face while they try to railroad you into jail….

    http://seattle.cbslocal.com/2014/03/28/lawsuit-man-arrested-searched-for-marijuana-solely-for-having-colorado-license-plate/

    Idaho cops acting like the gestapo is nothing new – Boise’s police department practically has a permanent FBI corruption/brutality investigation going on, the judges are routinely tossed in jail, and the city council is frequently up on bribery charges. But what can you expect of an area that has been completely taken over by mormons?

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  2. Hal_10000 *

    Actually, SO, Utah is one of the few states trying to reform drug raids and the like. I don’t think it’s a Mormon thing necessarily. I think it’s a small town cop thing. And small town cops can be corrupt whether they are Mormon, Baptist or Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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  3. Seattle Outcast

    I have family in that part of the country who love to send me press clippings – while Utah has become less and less mormon over the decades to the point they not just make up a strong minority, lower Idaho has gone the opposite route.

    This sort of mentality by the police appears to be omni-present in that part of the state, towns large and small. That a “small town cop” was even allowed to be on the force is more than likely due to his connections to a church bishop, and he REALLY wanted to be a cop in Boise.

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  4. Xetrov

    Boise’s police department practically has a permanent FBI corruption/brutality investigation going on, the judges are routinely tossed in jail, and the city council is frequently up on bribery charges. But what can you expect of an area that has been completely taken over by mormons?

    Mormons are known for corruption/brutality, and breaking the law for other things?

    Utah is actually still about 60% LDS, btw.

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  5. Hal_10000 *

    Incidentally, I have heard other people saying that Colorado plates are now being seen as probably cause for pulling people over. This is happening all over the place, though, not just in Idaho. I’ve been hearing or reading reports on this from Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. Doesn’t surprise me with West Texas.

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  6. Seattle Outcast

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  7. Miguelito

    For some reason, you guys just reminded me of an ep of Gangland (I think, one of those shows) I caught by accident a few months ago that was on the SLC gangs. Apparently they’re a pretty big problem there too. What was ironically hilarious though was the attitude a lot of the bangers had related to banging and the religion. They were the types that felt they were good religious people, but were absolute scum in their daily lives. What really cracked me up (or, really, just made me want laws to toss these guys into jail for life) was their attitude that jail and such didn’t bother them at all, but they were worried about making sure they’d be out by Sunday so as not to miss church, lest they get into “real” trouble.

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