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Is There a Connection Between Marijuana Use and Domestic Violence?

Jan. 19, 2022

For most of us, the comedic stereotypical image of a marijuana user is someone who is blissed out while smoking with a few friends—probably spouting some metaphysical gibberish and having a bad case of the munchies. However, recent advocates say that the harmless “Peace Love” hippie stoner went out with the lava lamp. And the truth is that pot use may have some astonishing connections to domestic violence.

For example, in his book Tell Your Children: The Truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence, author Alex Berenson explored if there’s a connection between marijuana use and domestic violence.

To make his case, Berenson often points to two studies in particular. First, a 2012 survey of 9,000 adolescents found that their pot use was related to a “doubling of domestic violence in the U.S.” And Berenson has also referenced a 2017 study where researchers had reviewed records of 6,000 British and Chinese nationals; they had concluded that “drug use was linked to a fivefold increase in violence, and the drug used was nearly always cannabis.”

Berenson has looked at pot’s impact on crime patterns in Texas: He told a Mother Jones reporter that, in 2017, “2 percent of the state probably smokes marijuana every day, and 30 percent of the deaths from child abuse or neglect were committed while people were using. And that’s a bad number. There’s no way around it.”

For Berenson, part of the issue is that when people argue that pot use should be seen as not much different from alcohol use, people imagine the benign use of alcohol—a glass of pinot at a dinner party. But they forget the lives lost to drunk driving, the bar fights, and other alcohol-fueled violence that has occurred. According to Berenson, people have been using the same short-sighted view when advocating pot use.

The reality may be much more complex. And it may include some dangerous outcomes.

If you have been arrested under suspicion of a substance-related incident, domestic violence, or any other violent crime, it’s important to get experienced criminal defense counsel as soon as possible. And, just as researchers say we need a deeper understanding of pot’s role in a crime, you need a lawyer who will dive deeper into the real facts of your case. Don’t wait. Contact the Law Office of Kenneth W. Mullen PC for a free consultation.