The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3388.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 8:57 PM

Abstract #69725

Does state medical marijuana policy influence youth’s marijuana use?

Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, PhD1, Jamie F. Chriqui, PhD, MHS2, Frank Chaloupka, PhD3, Lloyd Johnston, PhD4, Deb Kloska, PhD4, Patrick O'Malley, PhD4, and Duane C. McBride, PhD5. (1) Health Program, RAND Corporation, 1700 Main Street, P.O. Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138, (310) 393-0411,, (2) Center for Health Policy and Legislative Analysis, The MayaTech Corporation, 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 900, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3921, (3) Health Research and Policy Centers (M/C 275), University of Illinois at Chicago, 850 West Jackson Blvd, Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60607-3025, (4) Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, P.O. Box 1248, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, (5) Department of Behavioral Science, Andrews University, 123 Nethery Hall, Berrien Springs, MI 49104

Despite a federal prohibition on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, 26 states and the District of Columbia had medical allowances for marijuana as of December 31st, 2001. The tension between the federal and state positions regarding the recognition of marijuana as medicine continues to grow, as many more states consider revising their policies. There are at least two factors contributing to the federal reticence to accept medicinal marijuana. First, the current scientific evidence supporting the medical efficacy of marijuana is limited. Second, there is some concern that a formal change in policy may increase the recreational use of marijuana and the negative health and social costs that are associated with its use. In this paper we examine the impact of state medical marijuana laws on youth marijuana use. We explore three alternative channels through which medical marijuana laws could impact use: perceptions of harm, social availability and monetary price. Estimating reduced form models of marijuana use, we test the potential importance of each of these mechanisms using data from the 1990-2000 Monitoring the Future Surveys of High School Seniors. Estimating state fixed effects models, we find that medical marijuana laws in general have no significant effect on self-reported use of marijuana in the past year. However, there are aspects of these laws, in particular home cultivation, that are significantly correlated with demand. This direct effect of home cultivation on marijuana use becomes even larger when controls for perceived harm and social availability are included in the model.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Other Drugs, Public Policy

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Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Bridging the Gap/ImpacTeen
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

State and Community Drug Policies and Their Relationship to Youth Drug Attitudes and Use Patterns

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA