Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Associated With Greater Workforce Participation Among Older Americans

Photo Credit: NORML

Photo Credit: NORML

One of the arguments against medical marijuana legalization is that the medication will cause patients to become less efficient or productive as members of the workforce. But according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a non-partisan think-tank, this is not the case. In their working paper, they found the existence of statewide medicinal cannabis programs is actually associated with greater workforce participating in adults aged 50 and older. Researchers from the John Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore and Temple University in Philadelphia looked at two decades of data from the Health and Retirement study, which is a nationally representative panel survey of Americans over 50 and their spouses, and looked at ways medical marijuana access laws impacted health and workforce participation.

Authors of the study said, “[H]ealth improvements experienced by both groups (older men and women) permit increased participation in the labor market...” and added that medical marijuana laws correlated with a “9.4 percent increase in the probability of employment and a 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent increase in hours worked per week” for participants over the age of 50. In their conclusion, they said, “Medical marijuana law implementation leads to increases in labor supply among older adult men and women. … These effects should be considered as policymakers determine how best to regulate access to medical marijuana.”

This information has been brought to you NORML and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. You can also find the full text of the study here