Reforming Marijuana Laws: Which Approach Best Reduces the Harms of Criminalization? A Five-State Analysis

The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) came out with a new analysis about marijuana reforms which is gaining traction across the nation. The CJCJ sheds light on the strengths and weaknesses of two approaches to marijuana law reform: decriminalization for all ages, versus legalization for people 21 and over.

Five states were compared: California, Connecticut and Massachusetts have decriminalized small quantities of marijuana for all ages, while Colorado and Washington have legalized small quantities of the substance for people 21 and older.

Key Findings:

  • All five states experienced declines in marijuana possession arrests.
  • States that decriminalized marijuana for all ages experienced largest decreases in marijuana arrests or cases.
  • African Americans are still more likely to be arrested for marijuana offenses after reform than all other races and ethnicities were before reform.
  • California teenagers showed improvements in all risk areas after reform.

Click HERE to read the full analysis.

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