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Marijuana and Crime: Is there a Connection Beyond Prohibition?

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  • Rosalie Liccardo Pacula
  • Beau Kilmer

Abstract

We examine the relationship between marijuana use and non-drug related crime using data on arrests from the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program and Uniform Crime Reports. There is a positive association between self-reported use at the time of the offence and non-drug related violent, property and income-producing crime even after accounting for other substance use in the ADAM data. Reduced form equations using both data sets only provide evidence supporting a causal mechanism for property and income-producing crime. In the case of violent crime, we find a statistically significant association with arrests but not reported crime, suggesting that marijuana use may just influence the likelihood of getting caught committing these crimes.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Beau Kilmer, 2003. "Marijuana and Crime: Is there a Connection Beyond Prohibition?," NBER Working Papers 10046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10046
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Desimone, Jeff, 2001. "The Effect of Cocaine Prices on Crime," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(4), pages 627-643, October.
    2. Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong, 2001. "Alcohol Availability and Crime: Evidence from Census Tract Data," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(1), pages 2-21, July.
    3. Sara Markowitz, 2000. "An Economic Analysis of Alcohol, Drugs, and Violent Crime in the National Crime Victimization Survey," NBER Working Papers 7982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. MacCoun,Robert J. & Reuter,Peter, 2001. "Drug War Heresies," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521799973, September.
    5. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-565, May-June.
    6. Jeff Grogger & Michael Willis, 2000. "The Emergence Of Crack Cocaine And The Rise In Urban Crime Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 519-529, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Chu, Yu-Wei Luke & Townsend, Wilbur, 2019. "Joint culpability: The effects of medical marijuana laws on crime," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 502-525.
    3. Carlos Dobkin & Nancy Nicosia, 2009. "The War on Drugs: Methamphetamine, Public Health, and Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 324-349, March.
    4. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2010. "Alcohol Regulation and Crime," NBER Chapters, in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 291-329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. Adda, Jérôme & McConnell, Brendon & Rasul, Imran, 2014. "Crime and the depenalization of cannabis possession: evidence," Economics Working Papers ECO2014/05, European University Institute.
    7. Chang, Tom Y. & Jacobson, Mireille, 2017. "Going to pot? The impact of dispensary closures on crime," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 120-136.
    8. John J. Donohue III & Benjamin Ewing & David Pelopquin, 2010. "Rethinking America's Illegal Drug Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 215-281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Michele Baggio & Jinsub Choi, 2017. "Is Access to Medical Marijuana a Disamenity?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 37(2), pages 1267-1273.
    10. Hunt, Priscillia E & Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo & Weinberger, Gabriel, 2018. "High on Crime? Exploring the Effects of Marijuana Dispensary Laws on Crime in California Counties," IZA Discussion Papers 11567, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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