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Medical Marijuana Legalization on the Crime Clearance Rate in Washington Open Access

The purpose of the legalization of medical marijuana in Washington (I-692) was to help patients with terminally ill or debilitating conditions. Medical marijuana's introduction to state policy and economy created a natural experiment that I use to look at its impacts beyond the medical community. One potential impact is police effectiveness for other crimes due to reallocation of police resources. This study utilizes UCR data from 1994 to 2004 to determine if such an impact exists. I test whether the null hypothesis, which suggests no correlation of the legalization of marijuana on the crime clearance rate, can be rejected. My results show no means of rejecting this hypothesis, implying that the legalization may not have had any influence on the police allocation of resources to violent or property crime.

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