Does Smoking Marijuana Increase the Probability of Someone Committing a Crime?

The Research Question

The research question that will be the guiding principle of the study is, does the use of marijuana increase the probability of the user committing a crime?

This research is beneficial to criminal justice as it will assist in the improvement of strategies made by legislators while still backing up law enforcers (Weisburd, Lum & Petrosino, 2001). Additionally, it will help in understanding the relationship between cannabis use and the increase in crime as well as achieve a vital milestone in literature available on marijuana and crime.

Research Hypothesis

Smoking marijuana increases the probability of the user committing a crime.

Alternative Hypothesis

Continuous use of cannabis is an accelerating factor that leads to the users’ likelihood of doing criminal activities.

Null Hypothesis

Regular consumption of marijuana does not raise the consumers’ possibility to commit criminal activities.

Independent Variables

  1. Ethnicity

It involves the contributors’ race and cultural traditions. The measurement for this independent variable is nominal.

  1. Age

The participants’ years lived. The measurement for this independent variable is metric.

  1. Living Arrangements

The participants’ residence details; who do they live with? The measurement for this variable is ordinal.

  1. Occupation

Contributors’ job or profession, whether student or an employee. The measurement for this variable is ordinal.

  1. Number of Mental Health Issues

Participants’ assertion of mental health conditions listed. The measurement for this variable is ordinal.

Dependent Variables

  1. Marijuana Use

Participants’ declaration of whether they have consumed marijuana. The measurement for this variable is nominal.

  1. Crime History

Participants’ declaration to whether they have been involved in criminal activities before. The measurement for this variable is nominal.

Sampling Design

  In effectively responding to the research question, evidence about the use of cannabis concerning criminal activities will be required. The information needed will be obtained from secondary sources, and it should offer data on the use of marijuana encompassing how the use affects the increase or decrease of crime by the consumers. The information obtained from the secondary sources will be evaluated using both the qualitative and quantitative techniques of analysis. Quantitative data will be analyzed to get the statistical information regarding the research question intentions. The legitimacy of the data will be clarified by scrutiny of errors and constancies thereby it will be subject to extraction of meaningful information (Neuman, 2013). Qualitative data examined by analyzing repetitive occurrences in the data to will back up the quantitative analysis.

Research Design

  For successful completion of this research, data relating to the use of cannabis and how it influences the users in committing a crime will be obtained from secondary sources precisely implementing documentary research approach. Academic research documents from previous studies in online libraries will, law enforcement databases, government portals, as well as summarized government statistics, will be collected with the intention to gather useful data from these sources. The documentary sources will be handled with respect to Scott-1990 quality control criteria to assert that they satisfy scientific demands. Ideally, authenticity, credibility, representativeness, and meaning will be fundamental in identifying the viability of the collected sources (Ahmed, 2010). Due to financial and time factors, obtaining primary data to facilitate this study will not be possible.

Previous Research

Marijuana has been considered by some scholars as a gateway drug with adverse side effects including negative behavioral traits such as crime while some scholars view its positive medicinal factors. Of those who have associated marijuana with accelerating criminal activities, research conducted in various fields such as health, criminal justice, and psychology backs this up. Ideally, studies have illustrated the implications associated with the use of marijuana and crime. In their research, Schoeler et al. had a query that they needed to clarify. Their study base was on the research question whether continued use of marijuana initiated violence over the life course of the drug consumers. The study used primary data that was comprised of young males between the ages of 8 and 56 from the Cambridge Study of Delinquent Development (Schoeler et al., 2016). Data collection from the study case was by administering eight questionnaires that facilitated obtaining following violent outcome measures as well as collecting essential variables.

Data analysis methods in use were multivariate logistic regression analysis, fixed-effects analysis, and cross-lagged modeling. Conclusively, in comparison to non-users multivariate logistic regression showed that continuous use of marijuana was related to an accelerated risk of following violent activities. Further, cross-lagged modelling and fixed-effects analysis illustrated that these results could not be accounted for by other unidentified factors; their attribution was marijuana use. The outcome of this study strongly suggests that marijuana use significantly increases violent behavior and thus could be useful as a consideration to lawmakers (Schoeler et al., 2016). However, the limitation affecting this research was that only a small populace comprised the case study.

Furthermore, Norström and Rossow conducted a study to understand the relationship between marijuana and crime. Their research was directed by the question, whether cannabis use and violence had a link and used an approach that reduces the chances of confusion. The methodology used in their research was by the use of secondary data collection. Raw data obtained from the second the third Young in Norway Longitudinal Study. The focal point of this data collection was to extract information on marijuana use and criminal behavioral change in the users of the drug (Norström & Rossow, 2014). Disputably, the data collected was sufficient for the analysis. The data analysis techniques used to synthesize their findings was fixed-effects analysis.

The findings from this research depended on the outcome of the fixed-effects modelling analysis. The technique enabled the evaluation of the relationship between crime activities suggesting that an increase in the regular occurrence of crime was directly proportional to the increased use of marijuana. Further supporting the results, they disregarded the confusion brought about by the existence of time invariance. The findings from the study indicated that a 10% rise in marijuana consumption resulted in a 0.4% increase in the regularity of violence (Norström & Rossow, 2014). Conclusively, a substantial statistical relationship demonstrated that an increase in the use of cannabis significantly increased crime.


Ahmed, J. U. (2010). Documentary research method: New dimensions. Indus Journal of Management & Social Sciences4(1), 1-14.

Weisburd, D., Lum, C. M., & Petrosino, A. (2001). Does research design affect study outcomes in criminal justice?. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science578(1), 50-70.

Morris, R. G., TenEyck, M., Barnes, J. C., & Kovandzic, T. V. (2014). The effect of medical marijuana laws on crime: evidence from state panel data, 1990-2006. PloS one9(3), e92816.

Neuman, W. L. (2013). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Pearson education.

Norström, T., & Rossow, I. (2014). Cannabis use and violence: Is there a link?. Scandinavian journal of public health42(4), 358-363.

Schoeler, T., Theobald, D., Pingault, J. B., Farrington, D. P., Jennings, W. G., Piquero, A. R., … & Bhattacharyya, S. (2016). Continuity of cannabis use and violent offending over the life course. Psychological medicine46(8), 1663-1677.

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