Tuesday, August 6, 2019
The title of this post is the title of this notable new empirical article authored by Jesse Burkhardt and Chris Goemans. Here is its abstract:
The recent legalization of marijuana in several states has led to increased public interest regarding the effect of legalization on crime. Yet, there is limited empirical evidence relating the legalization of marijuana use and distribution to criminal activity. This paper uses a difference-in-differences design to estimate the effect of marijuana dispensary openings on local crime rates in Denver, Colorado.
We find that the opening of dispensaries actually decreases violent crime rates in above median income neighborhoods, an important finding in light of increased political debate surrounding legalization. We also find robust evidence that non-marijuana drug-related crimes decrease within a half-mile of new dispensaries but do not simultaneously increase within a half-mile to mile of new dispensaries, with one possible explanation being that legal marijuana sales and hard drug sales are local substitutes. Finally, in line with previous research, we find that vehicle break-ins increase up to a mile away from new dispensaries.
Cross-posted at SENTENCING LAW AND POLICY.