Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Thursday, June 28, 2018

"Time Trends Matter: The Case of Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Overdose Mortality"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new paper now available via SSRN authored by R. Vincent Pohl.  Here is its abstract:

Mortality due to opioid overdoses has been growing rapidly in the U.S., with some states experiencing much steeper increases than others.  Legalizing medical cannabis could reduce opioid-related mortality if potential opioid users substitute towards cannabis as a safer alternative.  I show, however, that a substantial reduction in opioid-related mortality associated with the implementation of medical cannabis laws can be explained by selection bias.  States that legalized medical cannabis exhibit lower pre-existing mortality trends.  Accordingly, the mitigating effect of medical cannabis laws on opioid-related mortality vanishes when I include state-specific time trends in state-year-level difference-in-differences regressions.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/marijuana_law/2018/06/time-trends-matter-the-case-of-medical-cannabis-laws-and-opioid-overdose-mortality.html

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