Marijuana Legalisation Has 3 Life-Saving Health Benefits, Study Finds
Despite the arguments of naysayers, legalising marijuana actually helps with three different areas of public health, according to a new study.
Traditionally, it’s Republicans and other right-leaning people who disagree with the legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana. Some cite health hazards as a result of taking the drug, when alcohol consumption has proven to be far more dangerous, while others can’t escape the thought process behind the ‘war on drugs’.
However, cannabis reform has been continually topping its peak in recent months, with New York’s newly-signed bill making it the 15th state, alongside the District of Columbia, to make marijuana legal for recreational use. Now, research has shown it could have a large impact in communities across the country.
A new paper, titled ‘The Public Health Effects of Legalising Marijuana’, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research and written by D. Mark Anderson and Daniel I. Rees, outlines three public health areas where legal marijuana could make a positive difference.
One area is tobacco consumption. While some experts believe smoking could be a thing of the past in 20 years, it’s still popular. The health effects are widely understood, significantly increasing the risk of lung cancer, which kills 150,000 Americans every year as detailed by FEE.org, and causing other damage to your body.
While marijuana has its own issues to consider, nobody has ‘overdosed’ and died from cannabis alone.
Another area is reduced alcohol consumption and traffic-related deaths. It’s commonly known that mixing alcohol and marijuana can make you ill, with the old saying: ‘Weed then beer you’re in the clear. Beer then grass you’re on your ass.’
The paper cites other studies which have estimated a 5% drop in alcohol demand and a 20% drop in binge drinking as a result of recreational marijuana, as well as alcohol-related traffic fatalities dropping by 13-15% in states with medical marijuana legislation in place.
Then, there’s crime, with the paper noting there’s ‘strong evidence that legalisation reduces non-drug crimes’. For example, legal recreational marijuana corresponded with a 15-30% drop in rapes and a 10-20% drop in theft.
However, the authors also wrote: ‘It is not yet clear how legalising marijuana for recreational purposes will affect these and other important public health outcomes. We will be able to draw stronger conclusions when more post-treatment data are collected in states that have recently legalised recreational marijuana.’
Economist Robert P. Murphy wrote on FEE.org: ‘It’s not enough… to endorse legislation that has a nice title and promises to do something good. People need to think through the full consequences of a policy, because often it will lead to a cure worse than the disease.’
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CreditsNational Bureau of Economic Research and 1 other
National Bureau of Economic Research