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The effects of medical marijuana laws on illegal marijuana use

Yu-Wei Chu ()

Journal of Health Economics, 2014, vol. 38, issue C, 43-61

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.

Keywords: Marijuana; Medical marijuana laws; Illegal drug use; Medical marijuana; Marijuna abuse; Drug arrest; Substance treatment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H75 I10 I18 K32 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:43-61

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2014.07.003

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Journal of Health Economics is currently edited by J. P. Newhouse, A. J. Culyer, R. Frank, K. Claxton and T. McGuire

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