employee absence medical marijuana

Employees Call in Sick Less in States With Medical Marijuana Laws

According to a study just published by health economist Darin Ullman with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, employees in states with medical marijuana laws miss work less than workers in states without medical marijuana laws on the books.

According to the study of states that enacted medical marijuana laws between 1992 and 2012, full-time employees who live in states with medical marijuana laws on the books call in sick to work about 8% less than those in non-medical states. The study scrutinized pro-MMJ states even more closely and divided them up into “strict” states (those with small numbers of cardholders and tough supply-side restriction) and “lax” states (large number of cardholders, easy access to cannabis medicine) and found that employee absence due to sickness in “lax” states decreased by 13% overall.

“Lax” states

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington

“Strict” states

  • Alaska
  • D.C.
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Why is this important?

One of the best ways to continue to gain ground in the cannabis prohibition reform movement is to constantly steer people’s attention to the economic benefits of legalization (as well as the economic DISADVANTAGES of continuing with prohibition). And because employee absenteeism in the US costs employers an estimated $24 billion per year it becomes clear pretty quickly that simply legalizing marijuana for medical use could easily save employers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost-time pay. Combine this with recent research that shows that ending cannabis prohibition would save Medicare nearly a half-billion dollars per year and the advantages of ending prohibition and enacting reasonable regulation should be impossible to ignore.

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