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Study finds that cannabis legalisation has reduced arrests even in states that already decriminalised

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A new study is challenging a key argument from legalisation opponents who say that cannabis reform should be limited to simple decriminalisation because it would similarly end cannabis arrests, reports Marijuana Moment.

Published by the American Medical Association, the study found that comprehensive reform produces maximal results if the goal is to stop arresting people over cannabis, with legalisation being associated with a 76% drop in cannabis arrests in states that hadn’t previously decriminalised cannabis.

The paper stated: “If we compare the benefits of RCL [recreational cannabis legalisation] and cannabis decriminalisation based solely on their associations with cannabis possession arrests, this study and the existing literature suggest that both RCL and decriminalisation are associated with a sizable reduction in adult arrest rates.

“Even after decriminalisation was implemented, adults could still benefit from a further reduction in arrests under RCL. The argument that RCL could reduce individual contact with the criminal justice system is supported.”

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