Study: Adult Use Marijuana Laws Associated With Reduced Criminal Activity

ITALY: The enactment of adult use marijuana regulatory laws is associated with reduced levels of property crimes and violent criminal activity, according to data published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Investigators from Italy’s University of Bologna evaluated the association between the enactment of adult use regulations and county level crime rates in jurisdictions in close proximity to the Washington/Oregon border during the years 2010 to 2014. Researchers reported that crime rates fell significantly in counties in Washington, where voters enacted legalization in 2012, compared to proximate counties in Oregon – where voters rejected a similar initiative proposal that same year.

Specifically, legalization was associated with a decline in thefts, property crimes, and rapes. Authors attributed the crime reduction to several potential factors, including less alcohol consumption and the reallocation of police resources.

They concluded: “The concern that legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes may increase crime occupies a prominent position in the public debate about drugs. Our analysis suggests that such a concern is not justified.”

Their conclusions are consistent with those of prior studies finding that marijuana regulatory schemes are associated with reduced criminality and a decrease in alcohol consumption.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Crime and the legalization of recreational marijuana,” appears in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Italian Army Growing Medical Marijuana

ITALY:  Some might say the Italian army has gone to pot. In an effort to reduce the cost of medical marijuana for citizens who suffer from chronic pain and other conditions, the Italian military has started a cannabis farm.

The plants are being grown in a secure room in a military-run pharmaceutical plant in Florence, the BBC reported, citing the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. The army expects to produce 220 pounds of marijuana per year and also plans to dry and pack the drug for distribution.

“The aim of this operation is to make available to a growing number of patients a medical product which isn’t always readily available on the market, at a much better price for the user,” Col. Antonio Medica told the newspaper.


To Grow Cheap Marijuana, Italy Calls In The Army

ITALY:  Italy legalized marijuana for medical use last year, but the high cost of buying legal pot in a pharmacy meant few people signed up. Now, the government has found a solution: get the army to grow it.

Starting next year, a high-security lab in a military compound in Florence will grow cannabis for Italy’s health care system in an experiment the government says could bring safe, legal and affordable marijuana to suffering patients.

The new army supply should allow the government to lower the price for consumers, who now have to pay up to 10 times as much at a pharmacy for marijuana officially imported from Holland as they might for a bag on the street from a local drug dealer.

Regional health authorities are expected to offer it to qualified patients cheaply or for free, helping to put mafia-linked drug dealers out of business. But whether large numbers sign up will depend on cultural factors in a Catholic country with an historic stigma against drugs.