Pot tale of the week

In a letter to the editor of the Reno Gazette-Journal about Nevada’s marijuana ballot measure, Joe Kotas of Reno wrote, “According to crimeinco.cbi.state.co.us, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s official tally on major crimes from 2014 to 2015 (the last year of available data), homicides are up 14.7 percent, rapes are up 10.6 percent, robberies are up 9.6 percent, motor vehicle theft us up 27.7 percent and the only crime category dropping was burglary, which was down .9 percent.”

What Mr. Kotas neglected to do was show any linkage between marijuana and those statistics. Actually, these crime increases have nothing to do with Colorado specifically. They are happening across the United States. For instance: “Dallas on pace for highest murder rate since ’07” (WFAA); “Chicago Drives Uptick in Murders” (U.S. News & World Report); “Chicago Murder Rate Pales To That In San Bernardino” (International Business Times); “Louisiana tops murder rate—again” (INDsider); “Dayton homicide rate rising” (Dayton Daily News); “In Las Vegas, Rising Murders Strain a Police Force Used to Solving Them” (New York Times).

According to the most recent annual crime statistics, released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Sept. 26, substantial percentage increases were seen nationally in murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rape, aggravated assault and property crimes.

As we reported earlier (“Pot tale of the week,” RN&R, Sept. 29), according to President Nixon’s marijuana commission, marijuana “was usually found to inhibit the expression of aggressive impulses. … In fact, only a small proportion of the marihuana users among any group of criminals or delinquents known to the authorities and appearing in study samples had ever been arrested or convicted for such violent crimes as murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault or armed robbery.”

And: “US And Colorado Murder Rates Have Jumped, But They’re Still Historically Low” (Colorado NPR).