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June 17, 2019

Association of Cannabis Legalization and Decriminalization With Arrest Rates of Youths

Author Affiliations
  • 1Economics, Sociology, and Statistics Department, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California
  • 2Crime and Justice Program, Marron Institute, New York University, New York, New York
  • 3BOTEC Analysis LLC, Los Angeles, California
JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(8):725-727. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1521

In this issue of JAMA Pediatrics, a study by Plunk et al1 using evidence from 4 states that legalized cannabis and 7 states that decriminalized cannabis found that legalization of cannabis significantly reduces arrests for possession of cannabis for adults but not for minors. In contrast, decriminalization policies lead to significantly lower rates of arrest for possession of cannabis (on the order of –75%) for both age groups. Although this result is perhaps unsurprising, it stands in contrast to prior work.2

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