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posted by on Thursday March 02 2017, @05:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the ideology-vs-scientific-analysis dept.

The Center for American Progress reports

On [February 27], days after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters to expect stricter enforcement of federal pot law, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recycled discredited drug war talking points in remarks of his own.

"I believe it's an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we're seeing real violence around that", Sessions said. "Experts are telling me there's more violence around marijuana than one would think and there's big money involved."

In reality, violent crime rates tend to decrease where marijuana is legalized.

Denver saw a 2.2 percent drop in violent crime rates in the year after the first legal recreational cannabis sales in Colorado. Overall property crime dropped by 8.9 percent [PDF] in the same period there, according to figures from the Drug Policy Alliance. In Washington, violent crime rates dropped by 10 percent [PDF] from 2011 to 2014. Voters legalized recreational marijuana there in 2012.

Medical marijuana laws, which have a longer track record for academics than recreational pot legalization, are also associated with stable or falling violent crime rates. In one 2014 study of the 11 states that legalized medical pot from 1990 to 2006, there was no increase in the seven major categories of violent crime and "some evidence of decreasing rates of some types of violent crime, namely homicide and assault."

[...] Elsewhere in his remarks, Sessions unwittingly made the case against treating pot activity like serious crime. "You can't sue somebody for drug debt". he said. "The only way to get your money is through strong-arm tactics, and violence tends to follow that."

Legalizing, regulating, and taxing the sale of marijuana is the surest way to remedying that exact tendency for pot commerce to trigger violent score-settling. Legalization invites pot business into the light, granting cannabusinesses at least partial access to official modes of recourse when they are defrauded.

8 states and the District of Columbia have legalised marijuana for recreational use.
Ever see anyone use cannabis and become more aggressive rather than more mellow?

Note: ThinkProgress redirects all accesses of their pages and will attach tracking numbers. I have made sure that those are not in the URLs.


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by TheRaven on Thursday March 02 2017, @05:56PM (8 children)

    by TheRaven (270) on Thursday March 02 2017, @05:56PM (#473963) Journal
    TFS presents two statements:

    Experts are telling me there's more violence around marijuana than one would think and there's big money involved.

    and

    In reality, violent crime rates tend to decrease where marijuana is legalized

    and then implies that these are in contradiction. This isn't the case: when something is both in demand and illegal, it will invariably be available on a black market, from people who are, by definition, criminals. It is entirely possible that in places where it is illegal a significant proportion of the distribution network is run by (and financing) organised crime. This happened during alcohol prohibition and it's not a big stretch to believe that it would happen during other kinds of prohibition. When you remove the illegality, then there's a strong incentive to buy from a legal source: you won't be arrested, the quality is likely to be regulated, and if it is bad then you have legal channels for compensation.

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @06:02PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @06:02PM (#473965)

    If you think Sessions was making an argument in favor of legalization then you haven't been paying attention.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bob_super on Thursday March 02 2017, @07:36PM (4 children)

    by bob_super (1357) on Thursday March 02 2017, @07:36PM (#474040)

    The problem, as I discussed with a local sheriff deputy recently, is cash.

    Local legalization drops prices, reduces incentives for violence and turf wars on the distribution side.
    But Federal prohibition means the business remains cash-based, as banks can't accept "Drug Money". That causes more non-gang robberies.
    The answer is to legalize at all levels, and the violence level will be lower than liquor stores.

    But that's probably not the kind of logical process going on in Sessions's head when he spews FUD.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 02 2017, @08:17PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 02 2017, @08:17PM (#474064)

      Shhhhh..... you're exposing the secret agenda, as long as there are increasing crime stats (of any kind) to point to, they have a reason to label "the experiment" as a "failure."

      If it goes on this way long enough, local banks will pop up that can accept drug money, they'll run armored car services and set up their own electronic funds processing network. They probably won't be called banks, because that would get them into regulatory trouble. They won't be nearly as efficient as normal banks, but they'll be better than drop-safes and armed guards on-site while they are open.

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      🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by edIII on Thursday March 02 2017, @08:37PM (2 children)

      by edIII (791) on Thursday March 02 2017, @08:37PM (#474075)

      That's an incredibly stupid fucking argument though (on the part of the sheriff), that cash will increase crime and is the problem. Duh. Yeah, it will do so, and NOT just with dispensaries. What about insurance? Check cashing places? Grocery stores? Movie theaters?

      Most people probably wouldn't realize it, but an insurance agency on the street is a target for robberies. People do come in and pay with cash or money orders. Rarely checks. I've seen more than a few in Las Vegas stop accepting cash all together, which coincidentally, occurred after this Great Depression II started. Of all the times I've had to search DVRs for video to give to detectives, it wasn't from cash based drug businesses.

      Taking cash is a problem for *all* businesses. It is a BIG problem demonizing cash, which is about the only thing we have that is anonymous and private. Since it is dangerous, it's becoming a trend to not accept cash with businesses that have a lot of it on hand.

      The answer is to legalize at all levels, and the violence level will be lower than liquor stores.

      Complete agreement on that.

      Local legalization drops prices

      I can tell you from direct experience that a Vitamin store will have more cash on hand than a dispensary. The prices are low. I spent $6 for a pot cookie last weekend. Looking at the prices listed in the shop, I can't see them bursting with cash at the end of the day. I've spent more on supplements for working out at the gym. That dispensary was a fraction of the size, in a tiny shop.

      Incidentally, this is why there is still plenty of crime going on moving product from California eastward to states that are still plagued with this anti-intellectual authoritarian bullshit. Legalizing it will severely decrease interstate crime, which is really money flowing from one state to another untaxed :) Same reason why California will NEVER build a train between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Never.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 02 2017, @08:12PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 02 2017, @08:12PM (#474061)

    Applying logic against an emotional argument is futile.

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by LoRdTAW on Thursday March 02 2017, @10:53PM

    by LoRdTAW (3755) on Thursday March 02 2017, @10:53PM (#474166) Journal

    It is entirely possible that in places where it is illegal a significant proportion of the distribution network is run by (and financing) organised crime.

    The kid I buy my weed from is a regular joe hustling to make money on the side. Trump supporter too. Organized crime handles the logistics and bulk distribution (e.g. Mexican cartels or local gangs). They move hundreds of pounds to tons from across the border, divy it up to regions and then sell to dealers. Also, some is grown in the US on illegal farms, parks, and some is stolen from states who have legalized it. Yes, the dealers can sometimes be tied to the organized crime rings (gang members who's gang may have ties to cartels). But for the most part, the dealers on the street are an ad-hoc bunch. Far easier to manage the bulk distribution channels than possibly tens to hundreds of thousands of little dealers.

    So my guy buys a few pounds from someone and has a small group of clientele. He also prefers to deal with people around 30 or older as younger kids tend to cause trouble and bring heat. I also had a friend who dealt, buying from his cousin who had a connection. He made about $30k over two years. Not bad pocket money.