Meta-analysis finds cannabis legalization leads to positive societal outcomes [Video]
Here’s the scoop!
- Cannabis legalization has positive societal implications, including lowered rates of suicide, binge drinking, and traffic fatalities.
- Teenage access to cannabis decreased by 8% and frequent use decreased by 9% after legalization, likely due to dispensaries replacing drug dealers.
- Cannabis legalization was found to be inversely associated with opioid overdose deaths and discourages the use of alcohol, especially binge drinking.
A recent meta-analysis of 36 different papers published between 2013 and 2021 provides evidence of the societal implications of cannabis legalization. Despite concerns from concerned parents and conservative politicians about increased teenage consumption, the analysis found that teenage access to cannabis decreased by 8% and frequent use decreased by 9% after legalization.
The reason behind this decrease was likely due to drug dealers being replaced by dispensaries with a legal obligation to check IDs. This decrease in teenage access to cannabis also had positive impacts on society, such as reducing rates of suicide, binge drinking, and traffic fatalities.
Another significant finding of the analysis was that cannabis legalization was inversely associated with opioid overdose deaths. Although the effect waned in recent years, two other studies published in 2019 and 2020 found that cannabis legalization reduced opioid deaths by 16-21%. In addition, legalizing marijuana discourages the use of alcohol, especially binge drinking, which led to a significant reduction in traffic fatalities.
Lastly, cannabis legalization was linked with reduced state-wide rates of suicide in males, with an 11% reduction in 20–29-year-olds, and a 9% reduction among 30–39-year-olds. The analysis shows that cannabis legalization has had several positive societal implications, despite concerns and criticisms from some parties.