An encouraging new study published in The Economic Journal suggests that medical marijuana laws may have additional benefits beyond improving access and health outcomes for patients in need. According to the researchers:
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 350 kilometres) 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 decriminalisation of the production and distribution of marijuana leads to a reduction in violent crime in markets that are traditionally controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organisations. [Wiley Online Library]
These findings indicate that regulated medical marijuana programs provide far-reaching public safety benefits that could become more pronounced as patient access is improved and participation increases. The strict controls that help produce such outcomes are an integral part of the work we perform every day at our facilities. Inventory is carefully tracked throughout the cultivation, transport, and dispensing stages to prevent diversion. Sophisticated security protocols and technology control access and deter criminal activity. Most importantly, patients have a secure and welcoming place to obtain the products they need without compromising their personal safety.
Though many have speculated that the emergence of state-licensed facilities could reduce the harmful impact of illegal trafficking, this data offers a particularly vivid window into the scope of that effect. Put simply, we now have strong evidence that regulated programs play a critical role in breaking the link between marijuana and crime. This process not only improves public safety, it does so in a way that also better addresses the needs of seriously ill patients who depend on medical marijuana access to improve their quality of life.
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