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Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Associated With Greater Workforce Participation Among Older Americans

Thursday, 06 October 2016

Medical Marijuana Workforce Participation Older Americans

Baltimore, MD: The enactment of statewide medicinal cannabis programs is associated with greater participation in the workforce by those age 50 and older, according to the findings of a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Researchers at the John Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore and Temple University in Philadelphia analyzed two-decades of data from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative survey of Americans over 50 and their spouses, to determine the impact of medical marijuana access laws on subjects' health and workforce participation.

Authors reported, "[H]ealth improvements experienced by both groups (older men and women) permit increased participation in the labor market." Specifically, investigators determined that the enactment of medical marijuana laws was associated with a "9.4 percent increase in the probability of employment and a 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent increase in hours worked per week" among those over the age of 50.

They concluded: "Medical marijuana law implementation leads to increases in labor supply among older adult men and women. ... These effects should be considered as policymakers determine how best to regulate access to medical marijuana."

Previous analyses of the impact of medical cannabis laws on various health and welfare outcomes report that legalization is associated with a reduction in obesity-related medical costs, decreased rates of opioid addiction and mortality, fewer workplace absences, and reduced Medicare costs.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "The impact of medical marijuana laws on the labor supply and health of older adults: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," appears online.