Thanks To Andrew Sacks of Sacks Weston Diamond LLC for alerting us to this article / report.


There Was Less Crime in Border States After Medical Weed Was Legalized


A new study suggests that medical marijuana laws (now on the books in 29 states and Washington, DC) have led to a decrease in violent crime in states that border Mexico. Areas closest to the border saw the most pronounced drop overall, as well as in crimes related to drug trafficking, which suggests that legalizing the production and distribution of marijuana in the United States is hurting Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

Mexico supplies most of the illicit drugs to the US; around $6 billion worth crosses the border every year as profit for the smugglers. It’s a violent industry, and one that’s hard to rein in without curbing demand. (The study authors open with an anecdote about a high-tech fence in Arizona being thwarted by a marijuana-launching catapult.) It’s so easy to obtain a prescription, they argue, that medical marijuana laws (MMLs) are a de facto decriminalization. They create a quasi-experimental situation where we can begin to examine whether legal weed pushes illegal weed out of the drug market.

Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime


  • This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1111/ecoj.12521


We show that the introduction of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) leads to a decrease in violent crime in states that border Mexico. The reduction in crime is strongest for counties close to the border (less than 350km), and for crimes that relate to drug trafficking. In addition, we find that MMLs in inland states lead to a reduction in crime in the nearest border state. Our results are consistent with the theory that decriminalization of the production and distribution of marijuana leads to a reduction in violent crime in markets that are traditionally controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organizations.



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