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The effects of medical marijuana laws on illegal marijuana use

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  • Chu, Yu-Wei Luke

Abstract

More and more states have passed laws that allow individuals to use marijuana for medical purposes. There is an ongoing, heated policy debate over whether these laws have increased marijuana use among non-patients. In this paper, I address that question empirically by studying marijuana possession arrests in cities from 1988 to 2008. I estimate fixed effects models with city-specific time trends that can condition on unobserved heterogeneities across cities in both their levels and trends. I find that these laws increase marijuana arrests among adult males by about 15–20%. These results are further validated by findings from data on treatment admissions to rehabilitation facilities: marijuana treatments among adult males increased by 10–20% after the passage of medical marijuana laws.

Suggested Citation

  • Chu, Yu-Wei Luke, 2014. "The effects of medical marijuana laws on illegal marijuana use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 43-61.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:43-61
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2014.07.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chu, Luke Yu-Wei & Gershenson, Seth, 2016. "High times: The effect of medical marijuana laws on student time use," Working Paper Series 5046, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    2. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Keshar M. Ghimire & Lauren Hersch Nicholas, 2017. "The Effect of State Medical Marijuana Laws on Social Security Disability Insurance and Workers' Compensation Claiming," NBER Working Papers 23862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-16-00826 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Yu-Wei Luke Chu, 2015. "Do Medical Marijuana Laws Increase Hard-Drug Use?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 481-517.
    5. Hunt, Priscillia E & Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo & Weinberger, Gabriel, 2018. "High on Crime? Exploring the Effects of Marijuana Dispensary Laws on Crime in California Counties," IZA Discussion Papers 11567, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Hersch Nicholas, Lauren & Maclean, J. Catherine, 2017. "The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on the Labor Supply of Older Adults: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," IZA Discussion Papers 10489, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Zhuang Hao & Benjamin W. Cowan, 2017. "The Effects of Graduation Requirements on Risky Health Behaviors of High School Students," NBER Working Papers 23803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Wen, Hefei & Hockenberry, Jason M. & Cummings, Janet R., 2015. "The effect of medical marijuana laws on adolescent and adult use of marijuana, alcohol, and other substances," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 64-80.
    9. repec:eee:jhecon:v:58:y:2018:i:c:p:29-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Zhuang Hao & Benjamin Cowan, 2017. "The Cross-Border Spillover Effects of Recreational Marijuana Legalization," NBER Working Papers 23426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Chu, Yu-Wei Luke & Townsend, Wilbur, 2017. "Joint culpability: The effects of medical marijuana laws on crime," Working Paper Series 6141, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    12. Lauren Hersch Nicholas & Johanna Catherine Maclean, 2016. "The effect of medical marijuana laws on the health and labor supply of older adults: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 22688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Lauren Hersch Nicholas & Keshar M. Ghimire, 2017. "The Impact of State Medical Marijuana Laws on Social Security Disability Insurance and Workers' Compensation Benefit Claiming," Working Papers id:12111, eSocialSciences.
    14. Chu, Yu-Wei Luke, 2018. "What we still need to know about the impacts of medical marijuana laws in the United States?," Working Paper Series 7028, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marijuana; Medical marijuana laws; Illegal drug use; Medical marijuana; Marijuna abuse; Drug arrest; Substance treatment;

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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