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Assessing the Effects of Medical Marijuana Laws on Marijuana and Alcohol Use: The Devil is in the Details

Author

Listed:
  • Rosalie Liccardo Pacula
  • David Powell
  • Paul Heaton
  • Eric L. Sevigny

Abstract

This paper sheds light on previous inconsistencies identified in the literature regarding the relationship between medical marijuana laws (MML) and recreational marijuana use by closely examining the importance of policy dimensions (registration requirements, home cultivation, dispensaries) and the timing of them. Using data from our own legal analysis of state MMLs, we evaluate which features are associated with adult and youth recreational use by linking these policy variables to data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97), the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and the Treatment Episodes Data System (TEDS). Our analyses control for state and year fixed effects, using within state policy changes over time to estimate the effect on changes in our outcome variables using a difference-in-differences approach. We find that while simple dichotomous indicators are generally not associated with marijuana use, specific dimensions of MMLs, namely home cultivation and legal dispensaries, are positively associated with marijuana use in each data set. Moreover, these same dimensions are tied to binge drinking and fatal alcohol automobile accidents as well. The findings have important implications for states considering legalization of marijuana, as regulating access to and promotion of dispensaries may be key for reducing the harms associated with these policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & David Powell & Paul Heaton & Eric L. Sevigny, 2013. "Assessing the Effects of Medical Marijuana Laws on Marijuana and Alcohol Use: The Devil is in the Details," NBER Working Papers 19302, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19302
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Crost, Benjamin & Guerrero, Santiago, 2012. "The effect of alcohol availability on marijuana use: Evidence from the minimum legal drinking age," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 112-121.
    2. Frank J. Chaloupka & Adit Laixuthai, 1997. "Do Youths Substitute Alcohol and Marijuana? Some Econometric Evidence," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 253-276, Summer.
    3. Saffer, Henry & Chaloupka, Frank, 1999. "The Demand for Illicit Drugs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 401-411, July.
    4. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
    5. Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo, 1998. "Does increasing the beer tax reduce marijuana consumption?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 557-585, October.
    6. Caulkins Jonathan P., 1995. "Domestic Geographic Variation in Illicit Drug Prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 38-56, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hefei Wen & Jason Hockenberry & Janet R. Cummings, 2014. "The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Marijuana, Alcohol, and Hard Drug Use," NBER Working Papers 20085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Brendan Saloner & Yaa Akosa Antwi & Johanna Catherine Maclean & Benjamin Lê Cook, 2015. "Access to health insurance and utilization of public sector substance use treatment: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act dependent coverage provision," DETU Working Papers 1509, Department of Economics, Temple University.
    3. 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.
    4. 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).
    5. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Ioana Popovici & Elisheva Stern, 2015. "Health Insurance Expansions and Provider Behavior: Evidence from Substance Use Disorder Providers," DETU Working Papers 1510, Department of Economics, Temple University.
    6. van Ours, Jan C. & Williams, Jenny, 2017. "Early Cannabis Use and School to Work Transition of Young Men," CEPR Discussion Papers 11770, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Maclean, J. Catherine & Saloner, Brendan, 2017. "The Effect of Public Insurance Expansions on Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act," IZA Discussion Papers 10745, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Williams, Jenny & van Ours, Jan C., 2017. "Early Cannabis Use and School to Work Transition of Young Men," GLO Discussion Paper Series 31, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. David Powell & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Mireille Jacobson, 2015. "Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?," NBER Working Papers 21345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. 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.
    13. Chu, Yu-Wei Luke & Gershenson, Seth, 2016. "High Times: The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Student Time Use," IZA Discussion Papers 9887, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Jonathan H. Cantor & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, 2015. "Economic downturns and substance abuse treatment: Evidence from admissions data," DETU Working Papers 1504, Department of Economics, Temple University.
    15. Popovici, Ioana & Maclean, J. Catherine & French, Michael, 2017. "The Effects of Health Insurance Parity Laws for Substance Use Disorder Treatment on Traffic Fatalities: Evidence of Unintended Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 10746, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Anna Choi & Dhaval Dave & Joseph J. Sabia, 2016. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Medical Marijuana Laws and Tobacco Use," NBER Working Papers 22554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. 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.
    18. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-16-00826 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. DeAngelo, Gregory & Redford, Audrey, 2015. "Is Medical Marijuana a Gateway Drug?: The Effect of Medical Marijuana Legalization on Heroin Use Rates," 2016 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2016, San Antonio, Texas 229981, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    20. Angela K. Dills & Sietse Goffard & Jeffrey Miron, 2017. "The Effects of Marijuana Liberalizations: Evidence from Monitoring the Future," NBER Working Papers 23779, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. 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.
    22. Dhaval Dave & Bo Feng & Michael F. Pesko, 2017. "The Effects of E-Cigarette Minimum Legal Sale Age Laws on Youth Substance Use," NBER Working Papers 23313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Ioana Popovici & Johanna Catherine Maclean & Michael T. French, 2017. "Health Insurance and Traffic Fatalities: The Effects of Substance Use Disorder Parity Laws," NBER Working Papers 23388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Williams, Jenny & van Ours, Jan C., 2017. "Early Cannabis Use and School to Work Transition of Young Men," IZA Discussion Papers 10488, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    25. Jenny Williams & Jan C. van Ours, 2017. "Early Cannabis Use and School to Work Transition of Young Men," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-004/V, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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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