Lessons learned from marijuana legalization in Four States and D.C.
Executive Summary: It’s not working.
“Apart from black market activity, legalization has potentially exacerbated other crimes as well. Though
it cannot be said that crime has increased because of legalization, some trends are worth noting.
The crime rate in Colorado has increased 11 times faster than the rest of the nation since legalization
(Mitchell, 2017), with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation reporting an 8.3% increase in property crimes
and 18.6% increase in violent crimes (CBI, 2017).
Along with the increase in property crimes, the Boulder Police Department has reported a 54% increase
in marijuana public consumption citations since legalization (BPD, 2017).
According to Alaska law enforcement reports, misdemeanor and vehicle thefts have dramatically
increased since legalization. Alaska’s national ranking for property crimes moved from 21st to 3rd and
burglaries from 31st to 14th after legalization. Alaska’s national ranking for larcenies also moved up from
16th to 2nd and vehicle thefts from 16th to 5th after marijuana became legal (ADPS, 2016).
Since legalization in 2014 to 2016, Oregon’s national ranking went from 17th to 11th for property crime,
12th to 7th for larceny, and 13th to 8th for motor vehicle theft (Disaster Center, n.d.).”