Current Events . . . Community
42 Members
163305 tn?1333672171

California Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rate To Record Low

Between 2010 and 2011, California experienced a drastic 20 percent decrease in juvenile crime--bringing the underage crime rate to the lowest level since the state started keeping records in 1954.

According to a recently released study, much of that improvement can be credited to the decriminalization of marijuana.

The study, entitled "California Youth Crime Plunges to All-Time Low" and released by the San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, looked at the number of people under the age of 18 who were arrested in the state over the past eight decades. The research not only found juvenile crime to be at its lowest level ever but, in the wake of then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signing a bill reducing the punishment for possessing a small amount of marijuana from a misdemeanor to simply an infraction, the drop in rates was particularity significant.

In that one-year period, the number of arrests for violent crimes dropped by 16 percent, homicide went down by 26 percent and drug arrests decreased by nearly 50 percent.

The category of drug arrests showed decreases in every type of crime; however, the vast majority of the drop resulted from far fewer arrests for marijuana possession. In 2010, marijuana possession accounted for 64 percent of all drug arrests, and in 2011, that number decreased to only 46 percent.

California's drop in serious youth crime has decreased faster than in the rest of the nation.
41 Responses
163305 tn?1333672171
The study's authors discount a host of explanations as to why juvenile crime has dropped so precipitously (such as changes in the way the statistics are gathered, demographic changes, harsher sentences acting as a deterrent and other cultural factors like family connections). They assert that only two major factors explain the trend: the loosening of marijuana laws and improvements in the economic well-being of California's youth.

AlterNet reports:

    California’s 2010 law did not legalize marijuana, but it officially knocked down "simple" possession of less than one ounce to an infraction from a misdemeanor--and it applies to minors, not just people over 21. Police don’t arrest people for infractions; usually, they ticket them. And infractions are punishable not by jail time, but by fines--a $100 fine in California in the case of less than one ounce of pot.

    "I think it was pretty courageous not to put an age limit on it," said Males, a longtime researcher on juvenile justice and a former sociology professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Arresting and putting low-level juvenile offenders into the criminal-justice system pulls many kids deeper into trouble rather than turning them around, Males said, a conclusion many law-enforcement experts share.

"We haven't seen this low of a number since 1970," Sacramento County Chief Probation Officer Don Meyer told Rosemont Patch. "We now get an average of seven [juveniles] a day, and that's come down from 20 a day."

Avatar universal
Now you know, they are not going to put up with that loss in revenue for very long. At least when it comes to the adults using and they can make boocoo bucks off their offenses. This is going to be interesting to watch. LOL
163305 tn?1333672171
There's also big bucks to be made on legal pot:)
377493 tn?1356505749
What I am getting out of this story is that the drop is due to lack of arrests being made for pot use.  While I am all for decriminilization, I do believe action needs to be taken when it's used underage.  I would not be pro arresting them, but I believe it should be treated much the same way as underage drinking.  Young developing brains should not be using stimulants like that.  

Still, the criminal justice system is not the place for this type of action, and Im glad young people are not winding up with permanent criminal records that could impact the rest of their lives for trying pot.  That makes no sense to me.
Avatar universal
If you decrimlize robbery/burglery then you see a drop in adult crime rate. Any why not make murder legal also? Then the US will have the lowest crime rates in the world.
1747881 tn?1546179478
I understand your point but how can you possibly compare robbery/burglary/murder to simple possession of marijuana, not even close to being in the same category.

If we went back to alcohol prohibition the crime rate would go up by leaps and bounds !!!
You must join this user group in order to participate in this discussion.
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child
This article will tell you more about strength training at home, giving you some options that require little to no equipment.
In You Can Prevent a Stroke, Dr. Joshua Yamamoto and Dr. Kristin Thomas help us understand what we can do to prevent a stroke.
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.