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Crime and the Depenalization of Cannabis Possession: Evidence from a Policing Experiment

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  • Jérôme Adda
  • Brendon McConnell
  • Imran Rasul

Abstract

We evaluate the impact on crime of a localized policing experiment that depenalized the possession of small quantities of cannabis in the London borough of Lambeth. We find that depenalization policy caused the police to reallocate effort toward nondrug crime. Despite the overall fall in crime attributable to the policy, we find that the total welfare of local residents likely fell, as measured by house prices. We shed light on what would be the impacts on crime of a citywide depenalization policy by developing and calibrating a structural model of the market for cannabis and crime.

Suggested Citation

  • Jérôme Adda & Brendon McConnell & Imran Rasul, 2014. "Crime and the Depenalization of Cannabis Possession: Evidence from a Policing Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(5), pages 1130-1202.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/676932
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Marie & Ulf Zölitz, 2017. "“High” Achievers? Cannabis Access and Academic Performance," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 1210-1237.
    2. Damien de Walque, 2014. "Risking Your Health : Causes, Consequences, and Interventions to Prevent Risky Behaviors," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 16305.
    3. Jordi Blanes i Vidal & Tom Kirchmaier, 2015. "The Effect of Police Response Time on Crime Detection," CEP Discussion Papers dp1376, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Huber III Arthur & Newman Rebecca & LaFave Daniel, 2016. "Cannabis Control and Crime: Medicinal Use, Depenalization and the War on Drugs," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 1-35, October.
    5. repec:aea:aejpol:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:28-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:aea:aejapp:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:30-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Grönqvist, Hans & Niknami, Susan, 2014. "Alcohol availability and crime: Lessons from liberalized weekend sales restrictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 77-84.
    8. Paul Bisschop & Stephen Kastoryano & Bas van der Klaauw, 2017. "Street Prostitution Zones and Crime," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 28-63, November.
    9. Vidal, Jordi Blanes I & Kirchmaier, Tom, 2015. "The effect of police response time on crime detection," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64979, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Benjamin Hansen & Keaton Miller & Caroline Weber, 2017. "The Grass is Greener on the Other Side: How Extensive is the Interstate Trafficking of Recreational Marijuana?," NBER Working Papers 23762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. D. Mark Anderson & Benjamin Hansen & Daniel I. Rees, 2015. "Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 495-528.
    12. Manolis Galenianos & Alessandro Gavazza, 2017. "A Structural Model of the Retail Market for Illicit Drugs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(3), pages 858-896, March.
    13. Marie O. & Zölitz U.N., 2015. "‘High’ achievers? Cannabis access and academic performance," Research Memorandum 008, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    14. Ariaster B. Chimeli & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2017. "The Use of Violence in Illegal Markets: Evidence from Mahogany Trade in the Brazilian Amazon," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 30-57, October.
    15. Dragone, Davide & Prarolo, Giovanni & Vanin, Paolo & Zanella, Giulio, 2017. "Crime and the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana," IZA Discussion Papers 10522, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. DeAngelo, Gregory & Redford, Audrey, 2015. "Is Medical Marijuana a Gateway Drug?: The Effect of Medical Marijuana Legalization on Heroin Use Rates," 2016 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2016, San Antonio, Texas 229981, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    17. Chu, Yu-Wei Luke & Townsend, Wilbur, 2017. "Joint culpability: The effects of medical marijuana laws on crime," Working Paper Series 6141, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    18. Brinkman, Jeffrey & Mok-Lamme, David, 2017. "Not in My Backyard? Not So Fast. The Effect of Marijuana Legalization on Neighborhood Crime," Working Papers 17-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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