Here Are Some of the Obvious Ways Marijuana Benefits Society
Access to medicinal cannabis is improving Americans’ quality of life in ways few advocates could have initially predicted. As the number of people utilizing marijuana grows, so too does our understanding of its societal benefits. Here are some of the latest scientific findings:
“The enforcement of MMLs (medical marijuana laws) is associated with a 2% to 6% decline in the probability of obesity,” they reported. “Our estimates suggest that MMLs induce a $58 to $115 per-person annual reduction in obesity-related medical costs.” For those age 35 or older, authors determined that the passage of medical pot laws is "associated with an increase in physical wellness and frequent exercise.” For younger adults, researchers theorized that obesity declines were likely due to a decrease in alcohol consumption.
• Greater Workforce Participation: Increased medical cannabis access is also having a positive impact in the workplace. According to another study published in Health Economics in 2016, full-time employees between the ages of 50 and 59 were 13% less likely to report absences due to illness following medical marijuana legalization. Those ages 40 to 49 were 11% less likely to do so, and those ages 30 to 39 were 16% less likely to report a medical-related absence.
“Although there is not a direct identification of those who use marijuana for medical purposes in the data, overall sickness absence is reduced for those in age and gender groups most likely to be cardholders,” the study concluded. “The results of this paper therefore suggest that medical marijuana legalization would decrease costs for employers as it has reduced self-reported absence from work due to illness/medical issues."
A separate study, published in October by the National Bureau of Economic Research, reported that the enactment of statewide medicinal cannabis programs is associated with greater participation in the workforce by those aged 50 and older. “Health improvements experienced by both groups (older men and women) permit increased participation in the labor market,” the authors wrote. Specifically, investigators determined that the enactment of medical pot laws was associated with a “9.4% increase in the probability of employment and a 4.6%–4.9% percent increase in hours worked per week” among those over the age of 50.
“Medical marijuana law implementation leads to increases in labor supply among older adult men and women,” they concluded. “These effects should be considered as policymakers determine how best to regulate access to medical marijuana.”
A version of this story also appears in the November edition of Freedom Leaf Magazine.