Examining the Effects of Legalizing Marijuana in Colorado and Washington on Clearance Rates: A Quasi-Experimental Design
Objective This study follows the lead of Makin et al. (Police Quarterly 22(1): 31–55, 2019) who found that marijuana legalization is associated with a marginal increase in clearance rates for some crimes but not for others.
Methods We build on their work attempting to replicate their findings by using the synthetic control method and fixed-effects models. A 50-state panel data set was constructed and analyzed. The dependent variables were aggregated violence and property crime rates. The independent variable was dichotomously measured recreational marijuana legislation.
Results Marijuana legalization is not a meaningful avenue of increasing clearance rates.
Conclusion The synthetic control method is useful for aggregate-level crime policy analysis when experimental methods are not available. The argument that the police would do a better job at reducing serious crime and/or arresting serious criminal offenders if they were not preoccupied with marijuana users is unfounded in this analysis.
Jorgensen, Cody and Harper, Alexis J.. (2022). "Examining the Effects of Legalizing Marijuana in Colorado and Washington on Clearance Rates: A Quasi-Experimental Design". Journal of Experimental Criminology, 18(2), 365-386. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11292-020-09446-7