The effect of medical marijuana laws on adolescent and adult use of marijuana, alcohol, and other substances

J Health Econ. 2015 Jul;42:64-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2015.03.007. Epub 2015 Mar 23.

Abstract

We estimate the effect of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) in ten states between 2004 and 2012 on adolescent and adult use of marijuana, alcohol, and other psychoactive substances. We find increases in the probability of current marijuana use, regular marijuana use and marijuana abuse/dependence among those aged 21 or above. We also find an increase in marijuana use initiation among those aged 12-20. For those aged 21 or above, MMLs further increase the frequency of binge drinking. MMLs have no discernible impact on drinking behavior for those aged 12-20, or the use of other psychoactive substances in either age group.

Keywords: Alcohol use; Marijuana use; Medical marijuana law; Natural experiment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Marijuana Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Self Report
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult