Department of Economics
The Effects of Medical Marijuana on Crime Rates and Substance Abuse in California
- Author(s): Fisher, Camille
- et al.
With marijuana legislation repeatedly being seen on state ballots, research on marijuana’s societal effects is in high demand. Using medical marijuana identification card data in California, this report observes the effects that medical marijuana has on crime and other drugs and alcohol. Medical marijuana has a small but statistically significant negative effect on total crime, larceny theft, property crime, and drunken arrests. There is a slight positive effect on drug and other mortality rates, but is negligible. Overall, there is some evidence of a substitution effect between medical marijuana and alcohol, but no evidence of a substitution effect between medical marijuana and other drugs.