Top publication by Evelina Gavrilova and Floris Zoutman
The article "Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime" has been accepted for publication in The Economic Journal.
The Economic Journal is included on the NHH Bonus list, and it is also on level 4 in the ABS Academic Journal Guide.
Gavrilova, Evelina, Takuma Kamada, and Floris Zoutman: Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime, The Economic Journal, forthcoming.
We examine the effects of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) on crime. We exploit the introduction of MMLs as quasi-experimental variation. Using data from the Uniform Crime Reports, we show that the introduction of MMLs lead to a decrease of 12.5 percent in violent crime, such as homicides, aggravated assaults and robberies in states that border Mexico.
We also show that the reduction in violent crimes is strongest for counties close to the border (less than 350km), while there is no significant impact of MMLs on crime for counties located further inland. Analysis from the Supplementary Homicide Reports data reveals that the decrease in homicides can largely be attributed to a drop in drug-law related homicides.
We find evidence for spillover effects. When an inland state passes a MML, this results in a decrease in crime in the nearest border state. Our results are consistent with the theory that the introduction of MMLs reduces activity by Mexican drug trafficking organizations and their affiliated gangs in the border region.
MMLs expose drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) to legitimate competition, and substantially reduce their profits in one of their most lucrative drug markets. This leads to a decrease in drugrelated crime in the Mexican border area. Our results indicate that decriminalization of the production and distribution of drugs may lead to a reduction in violence in markets where organized drug criminals meet licit competition.