SPOKANE, Wash. --- Following Attorney General Jeff Sessions' comments about marijuana legalization causing violent crimes, KREM 2 On Your Side examined crime trends in Washington state.
Attorney General Sessions said earlier this week that he believed marijuana legalization causes violent crime.
KREM 2 On Your Side looked through FBI crime stats to see if his perception actually matches reality in Washington. 2 On Your Side examined crime trends in both Spokane and at the state level.
Despite the attorney general’s statements that violent crime goes up, numbers from the FBI show that there have been a minimal impact in Spokane.
According to the FBI crime stats, there were 1,400 violent crimes before marijuana sales began in 2014. After legalization in 2014, violent crime in Spokane fell by nearly 20 percent.
By 2015 it continued to decrease. The full stats for 2016 are not available yet, but stats from the first part of the year suggest violent crime will likely be consistent with 2015.
Statewide, FBI numbers suggest violent crime rose slightly in the year following legalization, but only by one percent.
Back in Spokane, marijuana shop managers insist legalization has actually made our streets safer.
“When people get high, they mellow out. They calm down. They lose interest in grudges and arguments,” said pot shop manager Thad Stenlund.
Attorney General Sessions insisted there were no immediate plans to crack down on legal marijuana.