Springfield, Massachusetts is similar in size to Syracuse, so NewsChannel 9 made the trip to see how legalized marijuana is working out in Massachusetts.
The biggest observation made so far by the Springfield Police Department is that the black market is stronger than ever.
Proponents of legalizing recreational marijuana suggest that legal, regulated sales will help slow down the illegal business. So far, that hasn’t happened yet in Springfield.
Public Information Officer Ryan Walsh says seven of the last nine murders in Springfield were connected to illegal marijuana sales, even since marijuana was legalized.
Walsh says illegal marijuana, while more dangerous, is cheaper.
While major crimes continue, the officers haven’t noticed an uptick in smaller crimes. Walsh says there were high drivers before, and there are high drivers now, but it’s too early to notice an increase.
The City of Springfield doesn’t have any recreational dispensaries open yet, but 15 are expected by the end of the year. Those stores, and the customers going in and out of them could be targeted for robberies.
Police didn’t take a political position while Massachusetts voters debated legalizing marijuana, unlike the sheriff’s of New York State, all of whom have come out against the idea.