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Medical Marijuana Laws and Illegal Marijuana Use

84 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2012 Last revised: 12 May 2016

Yu-Wei Luke Chu

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Economics & Finance

Date Written: May 30, 2014

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 amongnon-patients. In this paper, I address that question empirically by studying marijuana possession arrests incities from 1988 to 2008. I estimate fixed effects models with city-specific time trends that can conditionon unobserved heterogeneities across cities in both their levels and trends. I find that these laws increasemarijuana arrests among adult males by about 15–20%. These results are further validated by findingsfrom data on treatment admissions to rehabilitation facilities: marijuana treatments among adult malesincreased 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

JEL Classification: H75, I10, I18, K32, K42

Suggested Citation

Chu, Yu-Wei Luke, Medical Marijuana Laws and Illegal Marijuana Use (May 30, 2014). Published as "The Effects of Medical Marijuana Laws on Illegal Marijuana Use" in Journal of Health Economics, Vol. 38, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2164778 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2164778

Yu-Wei Luke Chu (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Economics & Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 600
Wellington 6001
New Zealand
04 463 6855 (Phone)

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