Pandering to those who crave alternative facts to further cannabis prohibition, the head of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Atty. Gen. Jeff sessions, announced yesterday the department will cultivate “responsible policies” to extinguish marijuana-related crimes and violence – allegedly running rampant within states that have legalized the peaceful plant.
Rolling out his first falsehood on the lofty topic of marijuana reform in the United States, Sessions informed reporters yesterday, “Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think.” As such, Sessions and the DOJ intend on analyzing the Cole memo and unleashing their own special brand of enforcement, soon.
Despite the AG’s misguided assertions on marijuana legalization, a recent study indicates marijuana reform was linked to a noteworthy reduction in burglaries, theft and property crimes in areas that embraced medical marijuana. In fact, researchers suggested a reduction in violent crimes in these states. By utilizing and studying FBI data, Robert G Morris of the University of Texas observed crime rates dipping significantly in every state that embraced medical marijuana legislation (MML).
“MML is not predictive of higher crime rates and may be related to reductions in rates of homicide and assault,” Morris and colleagues write in the study, published in PLoS One in 2014. That may be because people seem to use alcohol less when they have access to pot: “Given the relationship between alcohol and violent crime, it may turn out that substituting marijuana for alcohol leads to minor reductions in violent crimes.”
Long considered a 10th Amendment issue, the one-time Alabama Sen. explained the schism between state and federal marijuana policy.
“States, they can pass the laws they choose. I would just say, it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.”
Myopically focused on the District of Columbia and the eight states that have legalized marijuana for adult-use, the Department of Justice is reviewing all of their available options, according to the Associated Press and the New York Daily News.
“The DOJ has several options available should it decide to enforce the law, including filing lawsuits on the grounds that state laws regulating pot are unconstitutional because they are pre-empted by federal law.”
Cognizant that most research has found no direct association between legalizing adult-use marijuana and an increase in violent crime rates, a Quinnipiac University poll performed on February 23, 2017, found 59% of US voters believe marijuana should be made legal for those over the age of 21. Additionally, the poll discovered 71% of those surveyed believe the government should not interfere with states that have reformed their marijuana laws.
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