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The impact of recreational marijuana sales on calls for service: an analysis of neighbouring cities

NCJ Number
Policing & Society Dated: 2020
D. A. Makin; et al
Date Published

This study analyzed calls for service received and initiated by police in Pullman, Washington and Moscow, Idaho after the enactment in Washington State of legislation that legalized the distribution of recreational marijuana. 


Research has begun to explore to what extent I-502, the initiative authorizing the retail distribution of recreational marijuana in Washington State, influenced a range of public safety outcomes; however, despite a growing body of research exploring potential impacts on crime, absent from this research has been a more nuanced analysis of officer workload. Specifically, an analysis into calls for service received and initiated by police. To document the extent to which I-502 is associated with changes in the type of calls police agencies respond to, the current research used an interrupted time series to analyze data provided from two border-straddling cities (Pullman, WA, and Moscow, ID). Findings indicate that recreational sales of marijuana is associated with noteworthy changes in police resourcing in the legalized state setting, and the magnitude of those changes varied by call type. (publisher abstract modified)