Could Cannabis Bring More Crime? What Communities With Legal Pot Tell Us

Could Cannabis Bring More Crime? What Communities With Legal Pot Tell Us
Could Cannabis Bring More Crime? What Communities With Legal Pot Tell Us

Challenge 2 on this yr’s poll permits Ohio voters to resolve whether or not or to not make leisure hashish authorized. A priority we’ve heard is that authorized weed may deliver extra crime with it. Will it?

CLEVELAND — Challenge 2 on this yr’s poll permits Ohio Voters to resolve whether or not or to not make leisure hashish authorized. A priority we’ve heard is that authorized weed may deliver extra crime with it. Will it?

When Michigan legalized leisure use about 5 years in the past, some mother and father had been nervous, like Stephany Podolan from Royal Oak, MI.

“I used to be troubled by it as a result of I’ve a 19-year-old,” Podolan mentioned.

She advised us she has no difficulty with adults utilizing authorized weed, however underage consumption, which might nonetheless be against the law, performs on her thoughts. “I believe it’s simpler for (my son) to get than it was for us (after we had been youngsters),” she mentioned.


In Hazel Park, MI, police advised us with authorized leisure use, they’ve seen extra youngsters with marijuana, and there’s been an enormous enhance in criminals breaking into properties.

“It’s tens of 1000’s of {dollars} in injury,” mentioned Detective Xavier Piper. “Somebody breaking by means of a entrance door, an image window, destroying property in the home.”

He said people are stealing money and valuables. Even the outside of homes has been an issue. “Backyards damaged because people are allowed to grow it in their backyards,” said Piper. “And it has to be behind secured fences, so you have people damaging property to get into the backyards.”


A report by the Journal of Criminal Justice shows in Oregon, after recreational legalization, there were “significant increases” in not only property crimes but also in burglaries and car thefts. However, while Michigan State Police did not want to go on camera with us, it is quoted as saying that “…an uptick in criminal behaviors…has not panned out…” that way. Pro-cannabis Michigan attorneys agree.

“You take what used to be a black market, and you turn it to a legal market, and you have, I think, a positive impact on opportunity for crime and reasons for crime,” said Brett Gelbord with Dykema’s Cannabis Industry Group.

“(The black market is) still going to do that with other controlled substances, but not with marijuana,” said Attorney Barton Morris with the Principal Cannabis Legal Group.

The Los Angeles Times reported the black market in California “flourished(ed) after legalization,” and organized crime ran “…massive unlicensed farms and storefront dispensaries in plain view, bringing crime and terrorizing nearby residents.”

However, a pro-cannabis Ohio organization sees legalization turning out differently here.

“It frees up law enforcement resources to investigate and prosecute more serious offenses because they don’t have to waste time on low-level marijuana offenses,” said Tom Haren, who is the spokesperson of the Ohio Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

“Legalizing marijuana isn’t a panacea to make all the drug problems go away,” said President of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police Gary Wolske. He and his organization are against Issue 2. “When you make it recreational, you’re telling everybody it’s okay to do,” said Wolske. “Prior to that, it was just… it was illegal. So, you weren’t expecting everybody to be using marijuana.”

The University of Colorado Boulder did a study recently saying in Colorado where voters said OK to cannabis about 10 years ago, “DUIs and crime did not explode following legalization.”


In addition to national studies, when it comes to crime in Michigan, it seems to be a bit of a mixed bag of results. Some have not faired well. In Ferndale, it’s been a different experience.

“The first impacts of this weren’t about EMS runs. They weren’t about public safety runs,” said Ferndale City Manager Joseph Gacioch. “We didn’t see an uptick in criminal activity. We still haven’t.”

When it comes to violent crimes, the Cato Institute came out with a report in 2021 that said rates decreased in Maine and Nevada. In Alaska and Massachusetts, though, violent crimes increased. But, overall, in Washington, D.C. and the nine states that it studied, violent crime “neither soared nor plummeted” after legalization.

And on top of all that, our state has to be careful watching over regulations. It’s especially important considering Rick Johnson. Who’s that you ask? The very guy who had been in charge of Michigan’s cannabis licensing board who was caught taking big bribes in exchange for approving applications.

Haren talked to us about internal oversight in Ohio.

“I have an enormous amount of faith in the folks at the Department of Commerce to appropriately regulate and set up the framework,” he said.

There is a lot of information and data on both sides of this issue. Five years into legalization in Michigan, Podolan said these concerns still lurk in her head.

“As a dad or mum, it’s problematic,” she advised us. “However I believe it’s good that (adults) have selections.”

Copyright 2023 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not revealed, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Join What Occurred Now? – a day by day electronic mail e-newsletter spotlighting the highest information within the Cleveland space every day.

Like it? Share with your friends!



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *