Image via The Weed Street Journal
One of the largest arguments the anti-legalization crowd employs stems from the belief that legal marijuana would increase the crime rate. A number of recent studies have come out that dispute, and even contradict, that assumption.
A recent study in the journal PLOS one, looked at the relationship between medical marijuana legalization and the crime rates statistics within those areas. Their finding ran “counter to arguments suggesting the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes poses a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes.” Crime rates in those areas stayed the same, or even decreased.
Another study looked at boroughs of London that underwent a decriminalization for marijuana possession. It not only found that the crime rate did not go up, but that the police were able to allocate resources towards other crimes. The findings stated “There are significant long run reductions in five non-drug crime types, and significant improvements in police effectiveness against such crimes as measured by arrest and clear-up rates.”
A long-held myth describes how marijuana use will make the use of harder drugs easier, providing users the sinister, titular ‘gateway’ into a life of addiction and crime. New and old studies have gone a long way to denying this claim.
The RAND Corporation found that “it is not marijuana use but individuals’ opportunities and unique propensities to use drugs that determine their risk of initiating hard drugs.”
Other studies have gone far to supporting this basic conclusion, like this one from the Journal for Health and Social Behavior. It found a correlation between marijuana use and other drugs, but said the causation does not exist. The report states there is “a moderate relation between early teen marijuana use and young adult abuse of other illicit substances; however, this association fades from statistical significance with adjustments for stress and life-course variables.”
Along with ‘stoner’ stereotypes that dominated the cannabis culture of the last century came the assumption that they these types ‘depended’ on cannabis.
One of the most common studies associated with marijuana dependency found that around four percent of Americans age 15-54 were found to have a dependence on marijuana, compared with 14 percent on alcohol and 24 percent on tobacco. It said nine percent of the people who tried marijuana would develop a dependence.
This study is from 1994, and the problem with even that low level of assumption surrounding marijuana dependence is that these numbers come from drug-war assumptions, according to the Huffington Post. The HuffPo says, “these criteria are chock-full of bias that ignore the reality of non-problematic or beneficial cannabis use.”
To summarize, the dependence on marijuana might exist in small numbers, but it is extraordinarily overshadowed by the much higher dependence displayed by alcohol and tobacco use.
The ‘stoner’ stereotype reflects a person that not only has a dependence on marijuana, but also does very little with his or her life. This common view of marijuana usage has been perpetrated for decades and rarely questioned.
However, new research coming out actually makes the assertion that there are a great deal of lazy, or “amotivational” people out there. The difference is that some use marijuana and others don’t.
The study found “participants who used cannabis seven days a week demonstrated no difference from non-cannabis users on indices of motivation.”
If you don’t believe it, then check out this list of avowed former and current marijuana users. It’s a pretty successful bunch.
Legalization of recreational marijuana has picked up speed, but the not as much as the medicinal charge that has swept the county (except in Florida). All that good will still hasn’t convinced a large number of folks that marijuana actually has medicinal properties.
Luckily, there are mountains of research that prove otherwise.
There is this study, which found “it is possible to affirm that cannabinoids exhibit an interesting therapeutic potential as antiemetics, appetite stimulants in debilitating diseases, analgesics, as well as in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy and glaucoma.”
Another well cited study found evidence of “symptom relief and improved well-being in selected neurological conditions, AIDS and certain cancers.”
Now that you have the information at hand, help expose these myths. Their continuation only slows the process of acceptance and legalization.