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Marijuana Regulation: Impact on Health, Safety, Economy

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The enactment of adult use cannabis regulation is not associated with upticks in marijuana use by adolescents

  • "Rates of marijuana use by teens have been of great interest to researchers over the past decade, given major social and legislative shifts around the drug. ... Fortunately, even as teens' attitudes toward marijuana's harms continue to relax, they are not showing corresponding increases in marijuana use."
  • There has been "no significant change in past 30‐day use of marijuana between 2013 (19.7%) and 2017 (19.4%). Also, in 2017, the use rates were not different from the national 30‐day use rates reported by the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. In 2017, 19.4% of Colorado high school students reported using marijuana in the past 30‐days compared to 19.8% of high school students nationally that reported this behavior."

The establishment of cannabis retailers is not associated with upticks in criminal activity

  • "This paper studies the effects of marijuana legalization on neighborhood crime and documents the patterns in retail dispensary locations over time using detailed micro-level data from Denver, Colorado. ... The results imply that an additional dispensary in a neighborhood leads to a reduction of 17 crimes per month per 10,000 residents, which corresponds to roughly a 19 percent decline relative to the average crime rate over the sample period. ... Overall, our results suggest that dispensaries cause an overall reduction in crime in neighborhoods, with no evidence of spillovers to surrounding neighborhoods. ... Our results are consistent with theories that predict that marijuana legalization will displace illicit criminal organizations and decrease crime through changes in security behaviors or substitution toward more harmful substances. ... Lastly, there is no evidence that increased marijuana use itself results in additional crime."
  • "Using 2010 to 2015 Uniform Crime Reports data, the research undertakes interrupted time-series analysis on the offenses known to be cleared by arrest to create monthly counts of violent and property crime clearance rate as well as disaggregated counts by crime type. Findings suggest no negative effects of legalization on crime clearance rates. Moreover, evidence suggests some crime clearance rates have improved. Our findings suggest legalization has resulted in improvements in some clearance rates."

Neither medical use nor adult use legalization is associated with adverse effects on traffic safety

Marijuana regulation is not associated with adverse effects on workplace performance or safety

  • "There is no or insufficient evidence to support ... a statistical association between cannabis use and occupational accidents or injuries."
  • Reducing criminal penalties for marijuana offenses is associated with increased probability of employment, particularly for young males, and an average increase of 4.5 percent in weekly earnings. "This data provides suggestive evidence that marijuana decriminalization laws improve extrinsic labor market outcomes. ... This result is consistent with existing literature that suggests black adults, especially men, stand to benefit the most from removing these penalties."
    Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute, Marijuana decriminalization and labor market outcomes, 2016

Marijuana regulation is associated with declining alcohol consumption

  • "We use data on purchases of alcoholic beverages in grocery, convenience, drug, or mass distribution stores in US counties for 2006-2015 to study the link between medical marijuana laws and alcohol consumption and focus on settling the debate between the substitutability or complementarity between marijuana and alcohol. ... We find that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces alcohol consumption. We find consistent evidence across different specifications and alcohol products (i.e. alcohol in general, beer and wine). States legalizing medical marijuana use experience significant decrease in the aggregate sales of alcohol, beer and wine. Moreover, the effects are not short lived, with significant reductions observed up to 24 months after the passage of the law."
  • "Research firm Cowen & Company analyzed the state of the beer industry in Colorado, Oregon and Washington--states where both recreational weed is legal and craft beer has become popular. In those states, beer markets have "collectively underperformed" over the last two years, trailing behind beer sales around the country."

Marijuana regulation is associated with increased tax revenue and job creation