By the Blouin News Science & Health staff

Criminal marijuana offenses dropping in U.S.

by in Research.

(Source: tanjila ahmed/flickr)

(Source: tanjila ahmed/flickr)

by Juliana Kenny

Federal marijuana trafficking offenses have been on the decline since various states legalized marijuana for certain uses, whether medical or recreational. The United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) released its latest drug trafficking statistics recently, and the numbers show a sharp decline in the number of federal marijuana trafficking offenses since 2012 — the year that Colorado and Washington states legalized the drug.

The report says: “The number of marijuana traffickers rose slightly over time until a sharp decline in fiscal year 2013 and the number continues to decrease.”

Meth and heroin trafficking have been on the rise since around 2009, while powdered cocaine and crack cocaine offenses have declined, and oxycodone offenses have more or less leveled off.

The Commission didn’t specify why marijuana trafficking has become less prevalent, but proponents of the legalization of marijuana and other drugs have historically argued that their legalization will contribute to a decrease in crime altogether. Indeed, studies conducted over the years have suggested that claim could prove to be true, or at the least, that the legalization of certain drugs does not lead to an increase in crime — a common worry voiced by opponents of drug legalization. But it will likely be a few more years until the U.S. can judge the effects of these state regulations with certainty.