Marijuana use can lower workplace fatalities

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Research shows a significant decline in workplace deaths in states where marijuana is legal

The benefits of marijuana continue to be revealed. While mostly it has been shown to have direct benefits to a range of health afflictions, there is another area where it has surprisingly been shown to make an improvement. According to a recent study, workplace fatalities are lower today in those states where marijuana use has been legalized.

According to a report in The International Journal of Drug Policy, there is a direct correlation between a decrease in fatal workplace accidents and an increase in medical cannabis access. The study was conducted by researchers at Montana State University, Colorado State University and American University, who studied data from 1992 to 2015 – a range that spanned pre- and post-marijuana legalization in a number of states.

The researchers concluded, “Legalizing medical marijuana was associated with a 19.5% reduction in the expected number of workplace fatalities among workers aged 25-44. The association between legalizing medical marijuana and workplace fatalities among workers aged 25-44 grew stronger over time.”

Workplace deaths decreased by around 34% within five years of medical marijuana being legalized. However, the researchers pointed out that the results could have gone in different directions, as there was no previous baseline upon which to build their results.

The researchers also indicated that workers who use medical marijuana, instead of alcohol or pharmaceuticals, have a lower risk of being injured or killed on the job. In those states where medical marijuana has been authorized as a treatment for pain, there are lower rates of workplace fatalities than in those states where it has not yet been legalized.

Despite the proven list of benefits, and legalization in certain states, businesses in those legal states are still authorized to conduct drug testing on their employees. Of the 31 states where medical marijuana is now legal, only nine offer employment protection to those who are prescribed medical marijuana.

Needless to say, more research on the area – as well as many others – is still needed. However, every day brings new promises for the virtues of cannabis and these will, eventually, lead to widespread recognition among all the states and, possibly, at the federal level.