Study: Marijuana Decriminalization Associated With Improved Labor Market Outcomes

Irvine, CA: Reducing criminal penalties for marijuana offenses is associated with greater overall employment and higher wages, according to data compiled by economists at the University of California.

Researchers at the Economic Self-Sufficiency Research Policy Institute at the University of California at Irvine assessed the relationship between statewide marijuana decriminalization laws and labor outcomes.

Authors reported that decriminalization is associated with increased probability of employment, particularly for young males, and an average increase of 4.5 percent in weekly earnings. African American males experienced the greatest average wage increase.

“This data provides suggestive evidence that marijuana decriminalization laws improve extrinsic labor market outcomes,” they concluded. “This result is consistent with existing literature that suggests black adults, especially men, stand to benefit the most from removing these penalties.”

Full text of the study, “Marijuana decriminalization and labor market outcomes,” is available online. For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: