Thursday, March 19, 2015
"The Kids Aren't Alright, But Older Adults Are: How Medical Marijuana Market Growth Impacts Adult and Adolescent Substance-Related Outcomes"
The title of this post is the title of this notable new SSRN piece authored by Rosanna Smart providing an empirical reassessment of some data on the impact of medical marijuana reform on drug use and abuse. Here is the abstract:
Public opinion has grown more favorable to legalizing the sale and use of cannabis; many states now have "medical marijuana" laws (MMLs), and a few have legalized commercial production and sale for non-medical purposes. Prior research examining the effects of MML adoption has largely found reassuring evidence on the consequences of such policies -- no impact on adolescent cannabis use, and large decreases in crime rates, motor vehicle fatalities, suicides, and prescription opioid overdoses for adults. However, medical marijuana regimes vary greatly, and simple comparisons of states with such laws to states without them miss that variability.
Reanalysis using a more sensitive measure of MML penetration (per-capita adult medical marijuana registration rates) confirms that growth in medical marijuana market size lowers alcohol and opioid-related poisoning deaths for older adults, and lessens traffic fatalities in accidents involving older drivers. However, larger medical marijuana markets lead to increased cannabis consumption by adolescents, accompanied by increases in traffic fatalities and alcohol poisoning mortality for this age group.