The opposing forces of legalized marijuana often spread anti-pot propaganda, in an attempt to frighten the average citizen into believing that weed will turn their children into coke fiends and clenched fisted convicts.

These same naysayers often paint the portrait of cities where medical marijuana dispensaries are being erected as being a felonious bedlam for bums; a place where unsavory characters prey on these establishments, reduced to committing random acts of cold-blooded murder just to pilfer cash and pot.

Upon close examination of historical crime data, a team of researchers from the The University of Texas at Dallas recently found no significant evidence to suggest an increased crime rate is a byproduct of the medical marijuana industry. But rather, states where medical marijuana has been legalized show an overall decrease in violent crimes like assault and homicide.

In a report published earlier this week in the journal PLOS One, researchers detailed their exploration into 16 years (1990-2006) of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report data, which encompasses a period when medical marijuana was legalized in 11 states. Researchers point out that although crime appeared to diminish in the United States during this time, there was no apparent upsurge in crime across the board in states with legalized marijuana.

What’s most interesting is contrary to the right-wing swill from medical marijuana adversaries: Researchers found no evidence to prove that the presence of dispensaries led to an upsurge in robberies and burglaries -- a concern often cited as a reason for not legalizing medical marijuana.

Researchers say the reduction in crime may be because of people trading in booze for bud. “Given the relationship between alcohol and violent crime [31], it may turn out that substituting marijuana for alcohol leads to minor reductions in violent crimes that can be detected at the state level.”

“Perhaps the more likely explanation of the current findings is that [medical marijuana] laws reflect behaviors and attitudes that have been established in those societies. If these attitudes and behaviors reflect a more tolerant populace that is less likely to infringe on one another’s personal rights, we are unlikely to expect an increase in crime and might even anticipate a slight reduction in personal crimes,” the study authors concluded.

Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.