Uruguayan Marijuana Decriminalization: Crime Rates, Support Levels, and Implications for the United States

—Emily Soule (Mentor: Mary Fran T. Malone)
Emily Soule

This commentary describes selected results from a study conducted using self-reported crime victimization rates, levels of marijuana policy support, and demographic information collected from adult citizens of Uruguay. Surveys were performed by the Latin American Public Opinion Project. In 2013, Uruguay decriminalized marijuana and planned to create a state-run marijuana industry, which began sales in 2017. I found that levels of safety in one’s neighborhood, both perceived and actual, remained the same throughout or did not correlate to the marijuana decriminalization process in 2013. I also found that those who reported having a close friend or family member who used marijuana had higher levels of support for the new legalization policy than those who did not.

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