The Effects of Marijuana Liberalizations: Evidence from Monitoring the Future

51 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2017

See all articles by Angela K. Dills

Angela K. Dills

Western Carolina University

Sietse Goffard

Cato Institute

Jeffrey A. Miron

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 2017

Abstract

By the end of 2016, 28 states had liberalized their marijuana laws: by decriminalizing possession, by legalizing for medical purposes, or by legalizing more broadly. More states are considering such policy changes even while supporters and opponents continue to debate their impacts. Yet evidence on these liberalizations remains scarce, in part due to data limitations.We use data from Monitoring the Future’s annual surveys of high school seniors to evaluate the impact of marijuana liberalizations on marijuana use, other substance use, alcohol consumption, attitudes surrounding substance use, youth health outcomes, crime rates, and traffic accidents. These data have several advantages over those used in prior analyses. We find that marijuana liberalizations have had minimal impact on the examined outcomes. Notably, many of the outcomes predicted by critics of liberalizations, such as increases in youth drug use and youth criminal behavior, have failed to materialize in the wake of marijuana liberalizations.

Suggested Citation

Dills, Angela K. and Goffard, Sietse and Miron, Jeffrey A., The Effects of Marijuana Liberalizations: Evidence from Monitoring the Future (September 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23779. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3035130

Angela K. Dills (Contact Author)

Western Carolina University ( email )

Cullowhee, NC 28723
United States
8282273329 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.wcu.edu/akdills

Sietse Goffard

Cato Institute ( email )

1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States

Jeffrey A. Miron

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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