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News Link • Drugs and Medications

Does Legalizing Marijuana Cause 'Sharp Increases in Murders and Aggravated Assaults'?

• http://reason.com, Jacob Sullum

Alex Berenson, the former New York Times reporter who has just published an anti-pot polemic that he aptly named after a notoriously hysterical 1936 anti-pot movie, says marijuana legalization "appears to lead to an increase in violent crime." Like his claim that marijuana causes schizophrenia and other "serious mental illnesses," his claim that it causes violence is based on a highly selective reading of the evidence.

"The first four states to legalize—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington—have seen sharp increases in murders and aggravated assaults since 2014, according to reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation," Berenson writes in the Times. "Police reports and news articles show a clear link to cannabis in many cases."

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